Hypergunk, Nasal Warfare, and Musical-Taste Calcification

This week’s Feedback column (that I write) in New Scientist magazine has three segments. Here are bits of each of them:

    • Nihilism and hypergunk — Irreducibly collective existence and bottomless nihilism aren’t for everyone. Or maybe they are. Jonas Werner, a philosopher at the University of Bern, Switzerland, published a crisp, perhaps irresistible, 16-page-long jotting called “Irreducibly collective existence and bottomless nihilism”. The matter isn’t as simple as some people assume. Nor are some of its concepts, though they have colourful names. “Gunky objects”, for instance….
    • Nasal warfare – There is a war going on in your face. To be bluntly specific about it: there is bacterial warfare in the nasal cavity. Britney Hardy and D. Scott Merrell at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Maryland, write about it in the Journal of Bacteriology. They sketch the micro-military history of the clash….
    • Pop science – “Where do our music preferences come from?” ask Alexandra Lamont at Keele University and Jessica Crich at the University of Sheffield, both in the UK. Mostly, they find, from our families: one way (directly) and another (our family’s reaction to our telling them about whatever new music we encounter). But Lamont and Crich mostly avoid a related question: when do our music preferences stop growing and become calcified? Upon reaching adulthood, many people stop paying much attention to new popular music and performers. Successive generations of middle-aged people showed uninterest in the music of new kids on the block Elvis Presley, Taylor Swift, Lil Baby and others….