Starting off November with a bang

Picture from the NYTimes article linked below

Drinking three glasses of champagne ‘could help prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease’
http://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/drinking-three-glasses-of-champagne-every-day-can-help-prevent-alzheimers-disease-a3109626.html
The article has been amended to say that it’s three glasses of champagne a week, not a day! Which is good because I don’t think anyone was trying to push someone to expensive alcoholism in the pursuit of avoiding mental degradation. As someone with a grandmother with Alzheimer’s, and have a terrible memory in general, I feel like I should probably start drinking champagne just in case. Preventative measures and all. Read More

Why Americans dress so casually and my #WCW

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonkblog/wp/2015/09/08/why-americans-dress-so-casually/

Introducing Deirdre Clemente, a historian of 20th century American culture at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas! Her research focuses on fashion and clothing and the patterns and trends she’s followed are really interesting. She did an interview with Robert A. Ferdman of the Washington Post and it’s really educational. For example, individuality is obviously a big part of today’s culture, what with the lower barrier of entry for startups and freelancers and the acceptance of some more counter-culture type groups. In terms of clothing choice is more important than ever, and something that is no longer class-restricted.

Read More

Honeycomb Candy with dark chocolate and other nonsense

That’s what I did today with Mr. Chokkattu.

11245422_10152704283330356_717049085_n

Recipe from the SORTED boys, whom I met the other week when they visited NYC for the Today Show, cheerily enough. I think I love them more now that I’ve met them. They’re a little shorter than I thought they would be, but at 5’1″ that’s not really a thing I can get hung up on, haha. This one’s my favorite picture. Credits to Mr. Chokkattu, linked above.

Read More

A question of scent: lavender aroma promotes interpersonal trust

http://medicalxpress.com/news/2015-01-olfactory-fragrance-lavender.html

This is an interesting study, but the authors of this study write quite a bit about how the experiment could be improved upon. I wonder as well how much of the Affect Grid especially was influenced by the fairly common knowledge of the effects of lavender and peppermint.

The “trust game” used in the experiment is also known as the game made up to help demonstrate Game Theory created by John von Neumann. Business students like myself are taught this game generally within the realm of economics to the end that rational people will try to optimize their benefit, and to teach the Nash equilibrium, which is when everyone involved in a situation is making a decision that takes into account everyone else’s choices, and an individual cannot stand to benefit from changing their strategy.

Sometimes, when the game is set up so that being unified in every decision results in the highest reward, a sort of positive Nash equilibrium that wasn’t really demonstrated in Game Theory’s conception which indicated unity as a neutral state, it’s used to teach business students not to step on each other on the path to success. That working together instead of indulging our innate competitiveness, we stand to have win-win situations instead of win-lose.

Perhaps the next time I need to negotiate for something, I should put some of Caldey’s Island Lavender on and the game will swing in my favor, or maybe it will just make me the sucker, and I’ll end up risking too much as a result of my own inclusive state of mind.

Coffee

Because I, and many of my peers, colleagues, and supervisors all over the world drink this black gold everyday, all day, and are chemically and behaviorally reliant on it for our daily functions…

The happiness and pride these people take in their coffee feels so much more genuine than the, at times hostile, song and dance the coffee geeks and small-batch packagers that I live around do. At most, the people around me teach me something about coffee in their weird, myopically western way.

Also, to balance out this anthropological episode, I bring you

So be careful with your intake and try to get your body’s worth of sleep!

Smell Turns Up in Unexpected Places

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/14/science/smell-turns-up-in-unexpected-places.html?_r=1

I’m obviously kind of a beginner scent geek and I feel like I learn new exciting things everyday, but I had no idea scientists were doing research on olfactory capabilities in other parts of the body, let alone studying healing effects.

“More than 15 of the olfactory receptors that exist in the nose are also found in human skin cells,” said the lead researcher Dr. Hanns Hatt….exposing one of these receptors (colorfully named OR2AT4) to a synthetic sandalwood odor known as Sandalore sets off a cascade of molecular signals that appear to induce healing in infused tissue…skin abrasions healed 30 percent faster in the presence of Sandalore.”

And Lyral, a lily of the valley synthetic, promoted the regeneration of muscle tissue.

That in itself is insane. But perhaps, as Jennifer Pluznick suggests, I simply need to rework my image of olfactory receptors, as smell is just a processing of chemicals.

The mystery of scent unfolds!

Chocolate: three ways

Damian Allsop’s Water Chocolates

Having used and shaped chocolate in the past, this is intriguing to me because water was usually the bane of my existence. I can’t even imagine what the process would be to keep the chocolate from separating into an unappetizing grainy mess. It’s apparently about 10% less fat than regular chocolate, and I believe the chocolatiers when they say the process makes eating the chocolate a lot more of a pure chocolate taste experience. I wonder if it’s genuinely creamy, or if it’s more of a hard candy texture. Obviously, I really, really want to try it ;D

https://i0.wp.com/lovetunbridgewells.com/wp-content/gallery/damian-allsop-chocolate-pop-up-shop/damien_allsop05.jpg

I was also looking into some Latino literature and was thinking I would start reading Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel. Defying preset roles and destinies, growing the nerve to stand up to crazy people, and expressing oneself through food, complete with recipes? Sounds fantastic. In fact, a lot of Latino literature seems to include something food-related, generally as a mood indicator. I think that this common device, which, don’t get me wrong, is used in a lot of literature in a lot of cultures, is interestingly blatant. It’s very clear what Rebecca’s lime-eating tic in One Hundred Years of Solitude is supposed to indicate (though I’m sure there’s subtext in there that I haven’t yet examined), and Like Water for Chocolate creates a story where for a while, the biggest indicator of Tita’s emotions are her cooking (according to Goodreads, haha.) Antonio in Bless Me, Ultima is picked on for eating traditional Mexican food at school, an obvious indication of the difficulties of trying to stay true to both your roots and your leaves. It’s so clearly intertwined with descriptions of culture, it’s fascinating.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/f/f5/Like_Water_for_Chocolate_(Book_Cover).png

And of course, we return to modernity: chocolate chicken.

Have you seen how incredible chocolate fried chicken looks?

Unfortunately, it’s on the other side of the country, so I guess I’ll build up my Type 2 Diabetes some other way. Sigh.