Cola for Mice / Read a bicycle / Head Organ / Life in Salt

This week’s Feedback column (that I write) in New Scientist magazine has four segments. Here are bits of each of them: Cola: a swell tale — … If you are a male mouse who drinks lots of Pepsi or Coca-Cola, and if you mainly enjoy reading manly adventure stories, get yourself a copy of the latest write-up from […]

Pass the salt (A Rube Goldbergian machine)

The video above is styled after the roundabout-action machines designed, a few generations ago, by cartoonist Rube Goldberg. This one was designed by Joseph’s Machines. (Thanks to Bob Rosa for bringing the video to our attention.) Meanwhile, Rube Goldberg’s granddaughter is overseeing a contest to build a supremely inefficient hand-washing machine. Hilarie M. Sheets of […]

The taste of electric currents (part 2 of 2)

Improbable recently profiled the work of the Miyashita Laboratory at Meiji University, Tokyo, Japan, where research is underway into the possibilities offered by ‘electro-gustation’. The lab has not only invented the electric chopsticks but has also investigated a possible way of encouraging diners to use less salt on their potato chips – with the aid […]

Potato chip authenticity in the USA

In America, potato chips carry more than grease and salt. They carry meaning. That’s the message carried by this new study: “Authenticity in America: Class Distinctions in Potato Chip Advertising,” Joshua Freedman and Dan Jurafsky [pictured here], Gastronomica, Vol. 11, No. 4 (Winter 2012), pp. 46-54.  The authors explain: “Our study uses the language of […]