Episode 003: Hungry Like the Civet

Topics discussed: Giant insects; Twinkies; the general fickleness of taste perception; food-ish things that may or may not be either good or bad for you; Japanese centenarians; the voices of physics; why naked mole rats don’t get cancer; clouds of bacteria; whiskey stones; oblique references to songs of the 1980s.

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SHOW NOTES

All about Twinkies, including ingredients and shelf life: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twinkie
– erratum: Twinkies aren’t back yet, but they will return on the 15th of July: http://www.latimes.com/features/food/dailydish/la-dd-twinkies-comeback-july-15-20130624,0,4313715.story
– a perfect example of the naturalistic fallacy: http://www.divinecaroline.com/life-etc/twinkie-ingredients-revealed
– speaking of which: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naturalistic_fallacy
A not-incredibly-difficult crème brûlée recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/creme-brulee/
Basic tastes: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taste#Basic_tastes
People enjoy wine more when it is given a higher price tag: http://news.stanford.edu/news/2008/january16/wine-011608.html
– link to actual academic article for the above: http://www.pnas.org/content/105/3/1050.short
Placebo pills are deemed more effective for pain when given a higher price tag: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/health/2008-03-04-placebo-effect_N.htm
Some wine-tasting studies: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2013/jun/23/wine-tasting-junk-science-analysis
– a similar article: http://lifehacker.com/5990737/why-we-cant-tell-good-wine-from-bad
Apparently the ‘o’ is silent. One of those Latin ligature things. Oops. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oenology
Not sure about blue orange juice, but here’s an oblique reference to a blue steak study from the 1970s where participants felt ill: http://itotd.com/articles/629/the-influence-of-color-on-taste-perception/
– and a link to an academic article that reviews this and some other similar studies in its introduction: http://www.aseanfood.info/articles/11020269.pdf
MSG: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monosodium_glutamate
– see also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glutamic_acid_(flavor)
– and for glutamate in general: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glutamic_acid
Questioning the relationship between sodium intake and poor cardiovascular health: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=its-time-to-end-the-war-on-salt
– another similar article: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/15/health/panel-finds-no-benefit-in-sharply-restricting-sodium.html
– one of the academic reviews cited by the above: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21735439
Living on potatoes and milk: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2828/could-i-survive-on-nothing-but-potatoes-and-milk
The original Swift diet: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Modest_Proposal
More on the death of Dr. Robert Atkins: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/11/nyregion/just-what-killed-the-diet-doctor-and-what-keeps-the-issue-alive.html
– and on Snopes: http://www.snopes.com/medical/doctor/atkins.asp
Academic publication discussing candidate receptors for salt (and other basic tastes): http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2721271/
The old oldest person (RIP) and the new oldest person on Earth (as of podcast release date): http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/worlds-oldest-person-dies-long-1947175
Centenarians by country: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centenarian#Centenarian_populations_by_country
TRP channels: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transient_receptor_potential_channel
– capsaicin: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capsaicin
– menthol: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menthol
Pit vipers: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pit_viper
– more on the pit organ and snake infrared sensing in general: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infrared_sensing_in_snakes
– pit viper image (with arrow to pit organ): http://nwtactical.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/pit.jpg
Vampire bats: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vampire_bat
– close-up of face with weird nose: http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2012/08/01/vampire_bat_wide-c3b907462f9a75005cc6d0ad399b87ec71974dcd.jpg
– spider-bat, spider-bat, walks however a spider-bat does: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a7/Vampire_Bat_003.jpg
The fearless David Julius lab: http://physio.ucsf.edu/julius/
The “snake fight” portion of your thesis defense: http://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/faq-the-snake-fight-portion-of-your-thesis-defense
Serious Eats’ post on sugar Coke versus corn syrup Coke — actually, (American) tasters preferred corn syrup in the blind tests: http://drinks.seriouseats.com/2011/09/the-food-lab-drinks-edition-is-mexican-coke-better-than-regular-coke-coke-taste-test-coke-vs-mexican-coke.html
History of Mountain Dew: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountain_Dew
– and a direct link to the image of the ad we discussed: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/5d/Mountain_Dew_sign_Tonto_Arizona.jpg
Beverly the beverage: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beverly_(drink)
Durians: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durian
– the Durian-Durian shop: http://eatdrinkkl.blogspot.com/2011/10/durian-durian-tong-pak-fu.html
– a “no durian” sign in a hotel, pic taken by MJ during his first trip to Malaysia: https://sshhmm.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/no_durians.jpg
– Duran Duran discography: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duran_Duran_discography
The Asian Palm Civet: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asian_Palm_Civet
– and the coffee it excretes: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kopi_Luwak
Just in case anyone didn’t get MJ’s “Spatula City” reference: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XbCWmY0eqY
More on prevalence of spicy foods in hot climates: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/11/1111_051111_spicy_medicine.html
Mannitol: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mannitol#Medical_applications
The latest “14-year-old McDonald’s burger” story (sigh): http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2313276/Man-keeps-McDonalds-burger-14-years-looks-exactly-the-day-flipped-Utah.html
– Serious Eats comes to the rescue again: http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2010/11/the-burger-lab-revisiting-the-myth-of-the-12-year-old-burger-testing-results.html
“Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!” (link to Amazon): http://amzn.to/186ZT8y
– Wikipedia article on Feynman: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Feynman
– the Feynman video played in the podcast: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qQQXTMih1A
“Qu’est-ce que c’est?”: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/qu’est-ce_que_c’est
Far Side cartoon on how dogs hear humans: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_jWNhyMUpjSE/S4cLodq1yaI/AAAAAAAAFr0/TvG0fYpoIOA/s1600-h/gl.jpg
O.Noir, the pitch-black restaurant in Montreal: http://www.onoir.com/
– a list of similar restaurants around the world (apparently the first was in Switzerland): http://travel.spotcoolstuff.com/unusual-restaurants-eating-in-the-dark
– and apparently there’s one in Malaysia after all: http://www.dininginthedarkkl.com/
Why naked mole rats don’t get cancer: http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2013/06/why-naked-mole-rats-dont-get-can.html
Bacteria in the clouds: http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-06/bacteria-33000-feet
Modeling spread of disease with dollar bill tracking: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn8636-banknote-tracking-helps-model-spread-of-disease.html?
– academic article (on nature.com): http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v439/n7075/full/nature04292.html
– link to PDF the above article: http://www.nld.ds.mpg.de/downloads/publications/Brockmann2006.pdf
Whisk(e)y stones debunked: http://www.scotchblog.ca/scotch_blog/2013/03/whiskey-stones.html
All the “illions” from Carl Sagan’s Cosmos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZmafy_v8g8
Symphony of Science: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZGINaRUEkU
MC Hawking (NSFW language warning): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCDXeJGCiWg
Stephen Hawking’s synthesizer setup, in his own words: http://www.hawking.org.uk/the-computer.html
80s songs referenced in the episode, in one way or another:
– “Hungry Like the Wolf”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOg5VxrRTi0
– “Psycho Killer” (via qu’est-ce que c’est?): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yX6FsTIq6ls
– “Turning Japanese”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEmJ-VWPDM4

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