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Posts tagged "science"



Bacon is perhaps nature’s most potent distillation of deliciousness. To those of us who fall in the category of “bacon lover”, there are few more innately pleasurable smells than sizzling bacon. 

The heat-induced chemical reactions catalyzed by the hot pan combine with compounds introduced by the process of smoking and curing bacon to launch a cornucopia of volatile flavor compounds into the air, and in turn your nose, stimulating salivary production and drawing you out of bed aloft on the wafting wonderfulness like a classic cartoon character.

So what ARE those delicious chemicals? The American Chemical Society’s Reactions channel has teamed up with CompoundChem to produce this look at the yummy chemistry of bacon.

Everything that’s delicious, we owe to chemistry.

My favorite bacon compound? When researching my next video (which also has a food-related theme, but you’ll have to wait until Monday to find out), I discovered guaiacol:

It’s a humble little molecule with a mouthful for a name, but it’s one of the most delicious chemicals on Earth. Here’s why it’s special…

Wood contains lots of lignin, a polymer that helps strengthen plant cell walls. When that lignin burns, like when bacon is smoked over applewood or coffee beans are roasted and toasted, some of its ring-like aromatic structures are converted into guaiacol (as well as hundreds of other compounds(, which is the main flavor compound behind the smoky taste in all sorts of foods… including bacon


The Science of Taste


We like to think of romantic feelings as spontaneous and indescribable things that come from the heart. But it’s actually your brain running a complex series of calculations within a matter of seconds that’s responsible for determining attraction. Doesn’t sound quite as poetic, does it?

From the TED-Ed Lesson The science of attraction - Dawn Maslar

Animation by TOGETHER


Cuteness is a powerful commodity. Here’s why you cannot resist the squee.

So cuteness can be animate or inanimate. The distinction might seem trivial on the surface, but recent evidence suggests our brains appreciate it—and prompt us to behave in different ways as a result. Baby cuteness triggers thoughts of vulnerability and protection that lead to careful actions. So-called “whimsical cuteness,” on the other hand, sparks ideas of playfulness and self-reward that make us indulge.

“There are two dimensions of cuteness: the baby cuteness versus this whimsical cuteness,” Gergana Nenkov, a marketing scholar at Boston College, tells Co.Design. “They have very different associations.”

Baby cuteness—behavioral scientists call it kindchenschema—centers on the irresistible features of tinyhood: the bulging forehead, the big eyes, the puffy cheeks. Studies routinely find that people who see images of baby cuteness feel intense and measurable desires to protect the lil’uns (including puppies and kittens). In this heightened caregiving state, people even display better fine motor skills than they do under normal circumstances.

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[Image: Kitty via Shutterstock]


When scientists test drugs on cancer cells, they do so in the two-dimensional confines of the Petri dish. If the drug being tested works well, the next stage is to shift to the 3-D environment and see how the drug tackles 3-D tumors in animals. If that goes well, then, finally, researchers start clinical trials on humans.

But what if testing and treatment could start in 3-D? Tumors, after all, exist in 3-D. And to come up with new ways of testing and treating cancer, scientists need to be able to work with tumors not just on the X- and Y-axis, but on the Z-axis, too.

The answer may lie in 3-D printing. Thanks to a team led by Dr. Wei Sun of Philadelphia’s Drexel University, 3-D tumors can now be biofabricated using 3-D printers that squirt out a mixture of cancerous and healthy biomaterial, dollop by dollop, in an infinitely higher resolution than your average.

And it could revolutionize the way we attempt to cure cancer.

How 3-D Printing Can Help To Cure Cancer


Seven studies for designers and marketers about the complex and bizarre science of the color red.

When people look at the color red, their blood pressure rises. They blink more. Compared to other colors, red triggers measurably more physiological arousal and neural activity. In the area of the monkey brain that processes hue, more neurons cue into red than to any other shade.

The power of red is even more intriguing because it changes with a given situation. Stop signs, fire alarms, bold lipsticks, corrective pens, blushing cheeks, angry eyes—they all put us on alert, but in very different ways. Sometimes red revs us up (men universally find it attractive on women, perhaps because they tend to wear it at peak fertility) and sometimes it cools us down (red ties hurt a job candidate’s chances). Its effect is puzzlingly potent: Sports teams wearing red uniforms win more, and people, when they see red, make a stronger fist.

It seems that red is strongly related to human motivation, and that makes it a powerful cue to initiate basic behavioral tendencies even without being aware of its influence,” Maier says. The color truly shapes our actions at a subconscious level.

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[Image: Red lips via Shutterstock]


The human brain consumes an astounding 3.4 x 10^21 ATP molecules per minute, making it a legitimate energy hog!

From the TED-Ed Lesson What percentage of your brain do you use? - Richard E. Cytowic

Animation by TOGETHER


Think you’re a smart shopper? What if I told you that your buyer’s brain could be tricked by something as simple as color?

We’ve evolved natural reactions to some colors (like red for blood, or anger, or sexual fertility), and we’ve been culturally adapted to many others, so it’s no surprise that color can subtly influence our behavior.

Don’t buy it? Let BrainCraft explain!



As someone who wants to study the human consciousness I found this very interesting.

Scott Routley was a “vegetable”. A car accident seriously injured both sides of his brain, and for 12 years, he was completely unresponsive.

Unable to speak or track people with his eyes, it seemed that Routley was unaware of his surroundings, and doctors assumed he was lost in limbo. They were wrong.

In 2012, Professor Adrian Owen decided to run tests on comatose patients like Scott Routley. Curious if some “vegetables” were actually conscious, Owen put Routley in an fMRI and told him to imagine walking through his home. Suddenly, the brain scan showed activity. Routley not only heard Owen, he was responding.

Next, the two worked out a code. Owen asked a series of “yes or no” questions, and if the answer was “yes,” Routley thought about walking around his house. If the answer was “no,” Routley thought about playing tennis.

These different actions showed activity different parts of the brain. Owen started off with easy questions like, “Is the sky blue?” However, they changed medical science when Owen asked, “Are you in pain?” and Routley answered, “No.” It was the first time a comatose patient with serious brain damage had let doctors know about his condition.

While Scott Routley is still trapped in his body, he finally has a way to reach out to the people around him. This finding has huge implications.


How awesome is this! :-D!!