A lyrical essay by AS Byatt describes the evolving human relationship with smell.
I know and can remember the scent, the smell, of all my four children's hair when they were babies. There are no words to describe these unique scents. When they are very small there is something extraordinarily painful about other women picking them up and making them smell briefly of L'Air du Temps or Chanel No 5. Other women's children at that stage always seem to me to have a Noli me tangere [Touch me not] smell - unless they are perfumed with talc and Bounce in their babyjamas. Sheep only accept other ewes' lambs if they are rubbed with their own lambs' smells.
We are losing functions - we don't recognise, we don't detect; it is all ersatz. Ants, as EO Wilson discovered and described, communicate and organise their complex societies with odours and pheromones. We also recognise - or used to recognise - good and bad food with our noses. I know the smell of tainted meat or fish, or mouldy sprouts - but I believe our senses are being blunted by the chemical haze we choose to live in, like living in a constant buzz of high-level interference, snow on the television screen, just audible screeching on the radio to which we have had to become inured.
Where are our petabyte drives? Brian Hayes takes us through the reasons storage is “stuck” in the low terabytes. The tl;dr is that we got such exceptional capacity growth in the late 90s and early 00s we don’t need much more right now, so the focus since then has been on SSDs, networking, interfaces, etc, […]
Amélie Lamont, a former staffer at website-hosting startup Squarespace, writes that she often found herself disregarded and disrespected by her colleagues. One comment in particular, though, set her reeling — and came to exemplify her experiences there.
In this episode of the Flash Forward podcast we travel to a future where humans have decided to eradicate the most dangerous animal on the planet: mosquitos. How would we do it? Is it even possible? And what are the consequences? Flash Forward: RSS | iTunes | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Patreon We […]
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