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    Why Smelling the Opposite Sex Can Age You

    It’s possible that sensing the presence of a female may effectively activate processes involved in reproduction, which might facilitate a male’s reproductive success if those females were around, but could increase aging as a consequence.Classic Film / Flickr There’s the usual advice. If you want to live longer, exercise. Eat green vegetables. Avoid stress. Oh—and […]

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    We Weren’t Designed to Appreciate Good Perfume

    Our sense of smell may have evolved to detect danger, not beauty.

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    The Long, Hard Quest to Create Digital Smells

    Of all of the wondrous feats accomplished by Willy Wonka in his candy factory, the most impressive may have been wedging an entire meal into just one unassuming stick of gum: Upon popping it in your mouth and chewing, you’d first taste tomato soup, then roast beef and baked potato, and finally blueberry pie and […]

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    So Human, So Beautiful

    I look into the mirror and try to see what another human would see. My beard is months old, scraggly and dirty, my balding head covered with wisps of gray. I take out the scissors and start to clean it up. Thoughts of other people, being with other people, force their way to the surface, […]

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    Animals’ Wildly Varying Reactions to the Smell of Death

    The stinkhorn fungus (officially known as Phallus impudicus—“impudent penis”—for obvious reasons) draws in flies with the rotting-flesh smell of putrescine.ƒred via Flickr To us humans, the scent of a rotting corpse is universally abhorrent, the very definition of disgusting. But as strong as that reaction is, many other animals don’t share our unalloyed revulsion. Goldfish […]

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    Seeing Maps of Sounds and Smells

    Jorge Louis Borges once described an empire that wanted to build a map. But the maps they had seen before were not precise enough. They had too much compression and approximation. There was too much inexactitude. And so the empire eventually made a map of the empire that was the size of the empire, and […]

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    Your Very Weird, Very Personal Sense of Smell

    We’re used to the idea that some among us are colorblind, perceiving the world differently because of a quirk in their genetics. And it’s well-known that teenagers and young adults can hear high-pitched sounds that their elders cannot, an ability that’s been exploited by manufacturers of The Mosquito, an anti-loitering device that annoys youth into leaving. […]