A new study has found that humans may be able to distinguish up to 1 trillion different odors.

To find out how many odors we can distinguish, researchers asked 26 participants to put their noses to the test. During each experiment, study participants were asked to smell the contents of three vials that the scientists had mixed themselves using 128 different odor molecules. Two of the vials contained the same mixture, while one did not. The participants’ task was to identify the odd mixture. Then, using the statistics obtained during the tests, the researchers were able to determine that people can distinguish two odors when their components differ by more than half.

Based on the smells of the homeless in the NYC subway, I’m guessing we can perceive much more than 1 trillion.

Kyle Hill at Discover magazine delves into Scooby Doo’s speech impediment.

I asked Dr. Long whether or not Scooby portrayed a disorder already described in the medical literature. Apparently, the affliction is the exclusive problem of talking dogs. “Scooby’s error pattern doesn’t have a specific name, at least not one that we commonly use in clinical practice,” he told me. Children don’t seem to experience anything like this and adults with speech difficulties don’t develop it, even after something like a stroke. This is because Scooby’s rhotic replacement goes deeper than something like a lisp.

I always thought he talked funny because he was a dog.

Fox Sports has given us a bracket of the best Seinfeld episodes.

Since brackets are all the rage these days, the Buzzer is getting in on the action to determine the greatest “Seinfeld” episode of all time.

It wasn’t easy, but we’ve come up with a Field of 32. The Contest, The Soup Nazi, The Marine Biologist and The Boyfriend landed No. 1 seeds.

My final four is The Soup Nazi, The Marine Biologist, The Contest, and The Chinese Restaurant.

Canadian broadcast regulations state that at least 35% of all programming must be written, produced, presented, or otherwise contributed to by persons from Canada (thanks Wikipedia), which is why the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is going after three porn channels for not having enough Canadian originated content.

To what extent the channels violate the rules is not stated in the hearing notice. Their schedules include what appear to be Canadian shows, “Men of Toronto” and “Canadian Quickies” among them. The nationality of some other programs, including “Sword Master” and “Filthy Pervs,” is less clear.


“It’s true that, without CanCon, ‘Debbie’ in ‘Debbie Does Deep River’ might never have been given her shot at stardom,” The Globe and Mail, a Toronto newspaper, said in an editorial. “But is this really something a government regulator should be fighting for? When did porn become a strategic industry?”

The editorial added, “And rumor has it that there’s an entire world of porn to be had on the Internet, free from C.R.T.C. oversight.”

I wonder if someone from the CRTC had to sit through some period of time of the programming while making notes?

Too bad that all the people who know how to run the country are busy driving taxicabs and cutting hair.

— George Burns

Yelp has revealed it’s Top 100 places to eat in the U.S.

Engineers on Yelp’s data mining team used a technique based on the Wilson Score to compile a list of highly rated places to eat. This method takes into account both star rating and number of reviews to reveal which spots not only have top notch ratings, but also which are most popular in the Yelp community.

Of course, since it’s only using Yelp’s data, the results are skewed towards the type of people who actively use Yelp. Case in point: NYC’s top rated place to eat is a food truck. While it is quite good, I don’t know anyone who would list it at number one in the city.

The Times informs us that Moviefone’s phone line is going dead.

“It’s a missed opportunity and unfortunately characterizes the way AOL has mismanaged the Moviefone business for quite a while,” Mr. Jarecki said. “The fact that a lot of people still call — hundreds of thousands a month, from what I have been told — shows that it isn’t some ancient idea.” AOL responded in an emailed statement, “Moviefone is one of the best-known brands in entertainment, and we believe it can mesh seamlessly with AOL’s strategic focus on premium content and video.”

Yeah, cause that’s working so well for AOL’s other brands.

Slate explains how Da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man” may be the perfect illustration of man…because of a hernia.

But in selecting his model for human perfection, Leonardo also managed to depict how our perfect bodies, upon closer inspection, are never so perfect after all. His sketch also reminds us that there is a certain futility in humans’ historic search for an exemplar, the one individual we can all point to and call the pinnacle of the human form.

I just thought it was his pubes.

John Stanmeyer’s “Signal” won World Press Photo of the Year, and thinkTank Photo brings us his thoughts on the photo.

What I try to do on every assignment is wander about, getting lost.

This is good advice for everybody, not just a photographer on assignment.

Two studies indicate that whole-fat milk and dairy products might be better at keeping the pounds off than their low-fat counterparts.

The second study, published in the European Journal of Nutrition, is a meta-analysis of 16 observational studies. There has been a hypothesis that high-fat dairy foods contribute to obesity and heart disease risk, but the reviewers concluded that the evidence does not support this hypothesis. In fact, the reviewers found that in most of the studies, high-fat dairy was associated with a lower risk of obesity.