Thursday, March 26, 2009

smell me (revised)

driving down to moab with two lawyers yields many hours of scintillating legal-style conversation, including a debate about the merits of fingerprint and DNA databases. no laughing. it's pretty interesting stuff. though it would have been significantly more interesting if i had already read this article. (will the fact that the headline is "csi: your armpit" make you more inclined to click the link?)

the piece examines the possibility of using body odor (aka: an "odorprint") to identify criminals. no laughing. it's pretty interesting stuff. though the technology doesn't appear to be very reliable. at all. endless b.o. jokes scattered throughout the article sort of make up for that, but i don't think b.o. jokes would come in very handy in a court of law.

the conclusion is that odors, which can linger for days, and which are also invisible, making it nearly impossible to determine their origin (despite the classic verdict, "he who smelt it, dealt it"), will not become part of our crime fighting any time soon, so we can all breathe a sigh of relief.

it did get me to thinking, though, about that sneaky olfactory sense, and i am starting to wonder if smelling does us more harm than good.

for example, did you know that when you think you are tasting something, you are actually probably smelling it instead? this is particularly true with fast food. because fast food is so highly processed, and then submitted to all kinds of chemical processes, like flash-freeze-drying, to make it last for so long, it has lost almost all its natural taste by the time it's ready to be eaten. so, fast food companies infuse their food with what amounts to culinary perfume, a manufactured scent that smells how the food should taste. because our sense of smell is much more highly developed than our sense of taste anyway, our brains buy it. 

like i said. sneaky.

or consider this study, which posits that the birth control pill reduces women's ability to select optimally  genetically compatible mates because the pill changes women's odor preferences, and not for the better. women on the pill become increasingly attracted to men with genetically similar odors, which is bad news for life-sustaining genetic diversity. (i dated my cousin. i should know.) i won't get into the complicated scientific reasoning for the phenomena here, but rest assured it's (all together now!) pretty interesting stuff. it's also more than a little bit unfair. as my friend natali puts it, "now i can't even sniff out the right man because i want shorter, lighter periods and better skin?!" 

i have one word for that.


but wait! there's more! i just now, this very second, came across another smell-related article, this one claiming that "twilight" actor robert pattinson, though easy on the eyes, might be less so on the nose. edward, say it ain't so!


Natalie said...

as a stalker of all things twilight, i saw Rob Pattinson's dirty hair interview on Leno. I'm ok with it though. Stinky or not, I'd still date him!

becky said...

hey! i blogged about that article once! :)

becky said...

also, fun moab pics!

Susan said...

you were on the pill when you dated your cousin? that would explain it. also, does that mean we need to bake you more cakes? stay strong sistah!

Miko said...

As if finding a husband isn't hard enough when I find him I can't be sure he's good for me becuase I have lighter shorter periods and lovely skin! That's just crap! CRAP!

I just can't win! I need some cake!