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How Our Bodies Sense the World is Misunderstood

Perhaps one of the first things you learned in kindergarten was that you had five senses: sight, taste, smell, hearing, and touch. But the actual number is probably way more than that, maybe in the 30s. And there’s a whole lot we don’t know about the senses that we do have.

What's the Worst Taste in the World?

There was a time not so long ago when, for fun, or just for something to do, millions of Americans would tune in to watch non-actors eat worms for cash. It felt good, watching strangers wreck their intestines. Things might not have been going your way, but at least you weren’t competitively chewing cockroaches on…

Coffee Could Be Changing Our Perception of Taste Coffee Could Be Changing Our Perception of Taste

Coffee seems to be the most overstudied beverage; seemingly every day we’re bombarded with another study about it causing or curing cancer. But surprisingly, there are plenty of scientists who don’t really understand its many effects. In fact, it may even be changing the way we taste all the other things we eat in a…

Why Storing Tomatoes in the Fridge Is a Bad Idea Why Storing Tomatoes in the Fridge Is a Bad Idea

Most foodies warn against storing tomatoes in the fridge, saying it saps them of their flavor. New research confirms this culinary opinion, revealing the way cold temperatures prevent critical flavor-enhancing genes from doing their job.

The Problem With the New Chocolate Substitute Is the Problem With All Food Substitutes The Problem With the New Chocolate Substitute Is the Problem With All Food Substitutes

There’s a new form of chocolate out there that wants to replace candy as we know it. The reason it’s not going to is the same reason all substitute foods keep failing to deliver on their promises: Accurately replicating food is almost impossible.

New Trick Helps Winemakers Figure Out Which Microbes Make Good Wine New Trick Helps Winemakers Figure Out Which Microbes Make Good Wine

Winemaking is always an exercise in uncertainty. You don’t really know just what the wine will taste like until the very end of the process, which is sometimes decades long. A new technique, however, could help predict what wine will taste like before it’s even made.

There's More to How We Taste Sweetness Than We Thought There's More to How We Taste Sweetness Than We Thought

Scientists assumed there is just a single type of taste receptor on the tongue responsible for our perception of sweetness. Now researchers from Monell Chemical Senses Center have found that those cells also contain gut enzymes, which contribute to sweet tastes. They describe their findings in a new paper published…

Why Are We Turning Our Favorite Foods Into Rainbow-Colored Nightmares? Why Are We Turning Our Favorite Foods Into Rainbow-Colored Nightmares?

Recently, it seems like food dye is making a comeback in a big way, and not just one dye—all of them. Rainbow colored bagels, grilled cheeses, pizzas, and even lattes have circulated the internet as the latest food trend. Is it just harmless novelty, or is there more to these culinary monstrosities?

No, Taking Your Coffee Black Does Not Mean You’re More Likely to be a Psychopath No, Taking Your Coffee Black Does Not Mean You’re More Likely to be a Psychopath

Is that friend who always very politely turns down your offers for cream or sugar very possibly hiding a dark secret, as haters around the internet have been insisting recently? No, probably not—but here’s why some people are saying taking your coffee black means you’re more likely to be a psychopath.

You Have Taste Receptors in Your Colon. Here's Why. You Have Taste Receptors in Your Colon. Here's Why.

Taste receptors don’t only exist in your mouth. You can find them all over your body, including your stomach, your lungs, and your colon. Why? It turns out the taste receptors are much more versatile tools than we suppose.

Is It Finally Time to Accept Fat as the Sixth Taste? Is It Finally Time to Accept Fat as the Sixth Taste?

There are five acknowledged tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and (slightly more controversially) umami. For awhile now, researchers have suggested the existence of a sixth taste: fat. Now, a new study has researchers saying they may have finally isolated it—and they’ve given it a name: oleogustus.

The Map of Tastes on Your Tongue You Learned at School Is All Wrong The Map of Tastes on Your Tongue You Learned at School Is All Wrong

Everybody has seen the tongue map – that little diagram of the tongue with different sections neatly cordoned off for different taste receptors. Sweet in the front, salty and sour on the sides and bitter at the back.

Why You Crave Tomato Juice on an Airplane Why You Crave Tomato Juice on an Airplane

I’m writing this seated on a plane heading to San Francisco. We’ve been in the air for under an hour, and the drink cart is just starting to make its way down the aisle. As the cart rolls nearer I’m forced to decide what drink I’ll be having. Since the cups are miniscule, and the liquid is largely displaced by ice…

The Taste Of Coffee Can Be Influenced By The Color Of Your Cup The Taste Of Coffee Can Be Influenced By The Color Of Your Cup

If your morning brew tastes more bitter than usual, you may want to consider changing the color of your mug instead of adding more sugar.

Why Does Orange Juice Taste Terrible After Brushing Your Teeth? Why Does Orange Juice Taste Terrible After Brushing Your Teeth?

Orange juice is many things: A fine source of Vitamin C, easy to get ahold of, and a pretty decent accompaniment to most items in the pantheon of great breakfast foods. What it is not at all, however, is a good thing to drink right after brushing your teeth.

This Artificial Tongue Can Taste the Tannins in Wine This Artificial Tongue Can Taste the Tannins in Wine

Wine tasting notes are famous for their verbal flourishes—for example, "kirsch, dried beef and baker's chocolate,"—but the liquid is ultimately just a collection of molecules, some sour, some bitter, some dry. And we're getting better at quantifying taste. A newly developed artificial tongue uses the very proteins…

You Have Better Taste Than You Realize You Have Better Taste Than You Realize

The old "tongue map" from our elementary school textbooks has been roundly debunked. Experimental confirmation of "umami" expanded Westerners' traditional four basic tastes—sweet, sour, salty, and bitter—into five. But did you know those 5 basic tastes might actually be 6 . . . or 7, 8, or more?

Cat owners may claim that their pets love ice cream and doughnuts, but it's the fat they enjoy. The taste receptor for sweet is encoded in two genes. In cats, a chance mutation appears to have broken one of these genes. That's why tigers, lions, and your kitty will never have a sweet tooth.

Just How Good Is A Dog's Sense Of Taste? Just How Good Is A Dog's Sense Of Taste?

If you've ever had a dog that was a particularly finicky eater or marveled at just how appetizing they seem to find those endless bowls of kibble, you've probably wondered: Just how sensitive is a dog's sense of taste?

Tangents: Visualizing Reich, Seinfeld x Conet, Tortoise Nostalgia, … Tangents: Visualizing Reich, Seinfeld x Conet, Tortoise Nostalgia, …

Tangents is an occasional collection of short, lightly annotated mentions of sound-related activities.

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