Posted tagged ‘Steak’

Friday Afternoon Science We Can Believe In

October 17, 2008

I’m weary of the election.

I can’t take much more of the BS and hate (and violence) emanating from the other side.  (See, e.g. this, and this, and this, for recent examples.)

I hear (and obey!) Senator Obama’s warning call keep plugging, not to get complacent.  I’ll be telephoning/canvassing this weekend, and next, and the four days up to and including the first Tuesday in November.  I will do my damn best not to leave any effort on the table.

But I’m damn tired — the GOP noise machine has had that much impact.  As far as this blog is concerned, acorn denotes that object out of which mighty oaks may go, and no sleazeball, scumbag robocalling, lying mailer-dispatching, my-campaign-is-positive honorless hypocrite is going to convince me otherwise.

I want to get some science back in this blog, something where people are engaged with the (secular) better angels of human nature, and asking deep and interesting questions of the material world in which we live.

That is: I want to think about work like this:

Outer space smells like hot metal, fried steak and the welding of a motorbike, scientists suggest. A chemist is recreating the smell to help Nasa to train its astronauts.

The Times (of London) Online reports that NASA has called on chemist Steve Pearce, whose day job has him investigating fragrances, to come up with a compound with the right pong to prepare those heading for International Space Station for the unique experience of sniffing in space.

Ah, Friday…but in fact the brief item does suggest that there is a genuinely interesting question behind the immediate application:

“We have already produced the smell of fried steak, but hot metal is proving more difficult,” he [Pearce] said. “We think it’s a high-energy vibration in the molecule.”

(h/t Scout Finch (my nominee for best screen name in the political blogosphere) at Daily Kos)

Image:  Jorge Barrios, “Un hombre soldando al arco una reja.” 2007.  Source:  Wikimedia Commons.