“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, September 10, 2012

Why does coffee never taste as good as it smells?

For many, the scent of freshly brewed coffee is the first highlight of the day. Now, scientists claim to have solved the mystery of why it never tastes as good as it smells.

By Nick Collins, Science Correspondent TELEGRAPH
12:01AM BST 08 Sep 2012

For many it is the first highlight of the day, just when you need it most: the scent of freshly brewed coffee wafting through the house first thing in the morning.

But scientists claim to have solved the mystery of why coffee never tastes as good as it smells.

The act of swallowing the drink sends a burst of aroma up the back of the nose from inside the mouth, activating a “second sense of smell” in the brain that is less receptive to the flavour, causing a completely different and less satisfying sensation.

In contrast, some cheeses smell revolting but taste delicious because their whiff seems more pleasant to us when passing out of the nose than in, experts explained.

Speaking at the British Science Festival in Aberdeen Prof Barry Smith, of the University of London, said: “We have got two senses of smell.

“One sense is when you inhale things from the environment into you, and the other is when the air comes out of you up the nasal passage and is breathed out through the nose.”

The phenomenon is down to the fact that, although we have sensors on our tongue, eighty per cent of what we think of as taste actually reaches us through smell receptors in our nose.

The receptors, which relay messages to our brain, react to odours differently depending on which direction they are moving in.
“Think of a smelly cheese like Epoisses,” Prof Smith said. “It smells like the inside of a teenager’s training shoe. But once it’s in your mouth, and you are experiencing the odour through the nose in the other direction, it is delicious.

“Then there is the example of when they don’t match in the other direction. The smell of freshly brewed coffee is absolutely wonderful, but aren’t you always just a little bit disappointed when you taste it? It can never quite give you that hit.”

Only two known aromas - chocolate and lavender - are interpteted in exactly the same way whether they enter the nose from the inside or the outside.

In the case of coffee, the taste is also hampered by the fact that 300 of the 631 chemicals that combine to form its complex aroma are wiped out by saliva, causing the flavour to change before we swallow it, Prof Smith added.


  1. Kind of like the Romney Health Care Plan.

    Smells good, but when you "taste it" you realize that it's not really guaranteed issue; it's, to be accurate, guaranteed non-cancellable (as are most plans, already.)

    Big Dif.

    1. Are there life time caps in the Romney Plan?

      Are there no limitations on pre-existing conditions?

      Are there Federal mandates to purchase private insurance?

    2. Will the Romney Plan be a Federal take over of the Health Care industry?

      Or just meddling in it?

    3. Seems, dispute what Mitt has said in the past, it'll be ...

      Stay the Course!

    4. What he is describing is that policies will have to be "non-cancellable," not guaranteed issuable.

      The Key Phrase is "Continuous Coverage."

      If you have lost your health coverage, already, and have, or develop, a Pre-existing condition you will be out of luck.

      He's just playing with words. Basically, his plan doesn't move the ball hardly any at all.

    5. Mr Romney's plan certainly moves the ball back for seniors.

      Bankrupts Medicare in 2016, while reinstating the "donut hole" in prescription drug coverage.

      Ayn Rand, smelled sweeter than she tasted.
      Or so said Nathaniel Branden.

  2. Had not heard of a Euro break-up presented in this direction, before. Bet it'd smell better than it'd taste.

    (NEWSER) – If Germany isn't going to take the lead—meaning take on weaker countries' debts and relax austerity demands—George Soros thinks it should just get out of the eurozone altogether, reports Reuters. Without Germany, Soros says the rest of Europe could service their debts more cheaply and be more competitive with exports. But with Germany keeping costs in Europe high and insisting on austerity for the rest of Europe, the continent faces a depression and growing social turmoil.

    "Germany should either lead in developing a growth policy, political union and burden-sharing, accept the cost of leadership, or leave through an amicable arrangement," said Soros. Soros said the new European Central Bank bond-buying program would give Europe more time to fix its problems, but that it's not enough. He also compared the effects of Germany's emphasis on austerity to the "lost decade" that crippled Central America in the 1980s. "This policy is pushing Europe into a depression which is going to last five or 10 years," he said.

  3. This may turn out to be tastier than it smelled.

    (NEWSER) – The US government is selling another $18 billion in AIG, a move that will make it a minority stakeholder for the first time since bailing out the insurance giant in 2008, reports the Wall Street Journal. Four other sales since March 2011 have reduced the government's stake in AIG from 92% to 53%. And with the AIG share price at $33.99 as of close on Friday, the company's shares are up 47% this year—although still down 95% from their high in 2007—making the government on track to turn a profit from the rescue. In fact, by some measures, the coming sale will put the government into the black on the AIG bailout.

    The Treasury Department invested $245 billion in more than 700 banks during the bailout, and so far has collected $264.7 billion from those programs.

    Osama is dead
    AIG is Alive
    The Financial sector is Alive
    GM is Alive.

    Don't bet against the USA.

    1. All due to Quatative Easing at heart...

      ...hardly something to get excited about.

    2. Better to be alive in the USA than to be fish food at the bottom of the Pacific.

      As for Quantitative easing, it's better than Drastic decompression.

    3. The Fed is attempting to stop the deflation that is evidenced in the housing market from spreading across the entire economy. To some extent they have been successful.

      As evidence by the "recovery" in the financial sector and Wall Street equities.

      As Mr Romney said, "Big Business" is doing okay, it's just the "Little Guy" that is still screwed.
      Big Government aids Big Business. The rising tide not reaching Main Street. The trickle down, hasn't.

      The Romney/Ryan Plan, well, it "Stays the Goldman Sachs Course".

    4. Which is why Mr Romney's remarks about the Private Sector in August echo Mr Obama's remarks made in June.

      Romney in August ...
      Big business is doing fine in many places -– they get the loans they need, they can deal with all the regulation. They know how to find ways to get through the tax code, save money by putting various things in the places where there are low tax havens around the world for their businesses.

      Obama in June ...
      "We've created 4.3 million jobs over the past 27 months. The private sector is doing fine,"

      Birds of a feather, flocking together.

  4. Some interesting reading is the machinations of European Monetary Policy in the early 1900's. Their attempted manipulations of "exchange rates" and the resulting depressions, recessions, wars, and all-around chaos associated with their constant attempsts to "bugger thy neighbor" through money-changing.

    1. Well, if I was a Greek I'd know in my heart that the Germans were not my friends. Proven by past performance.

      Just as I know in my heart, today, that the Saudis are not operating in the best interests of the USA.

    2. Rufus, Sorta like the current US/FED policy of keeping the US dollar down?

    3. No, Ash, not even in the same universe. The Dollar is, actually, UP over 20% in the last couple of years.

      The Fed isn't trying to keep the Dollar down; the Fed is trying to keep us out of deflation/depression.

    4. The effect is the same, trying to keep the US out of deflation/depression as the FED has been printing the suckers up like there was no tomorrow and keeping the interests rates in the US low (which drives down the value of the dollar).

      The US dollar vs a basket of currencies is actually about where it was 2 years ago and that was after a quite a decline.

      No rufus, the only real arguement is that the US is a large driver of the world economy thus what is good for the US is good for the world. In fact the US dollar has seen quite a big decline over the last decade.

    5. Well, ash I would say that 14% decline in forty years is not much to get excited about. Chances are that in 1973 the dollar was over valued vis a vie the "Basket".

      Although there are only six currencies they represent 21 countries as 16 countries have the euro as their currency. Therefore it is a good tool for measuring the U.S. dollar's strength.

      As not every country is the same size, the basket uses geometric, weighted averages. The euro makes up 57.6 percent of the basket. The Japanese yen, 13.6 percent; the Sterling pound, 11.9 percent; Canadian dollar, 9.1 percent; the Swedish kroner, 4.2 percent; and the Swiss franc, 3.6 percent.

      The index was started in 1973 when the biggest nations in the world decided to allow their currencies to float freely. When the index started it was set at 100. If the index was 120, the U.S. dollar would be considered strong in relation to the six currencies.

      As of the fourth quarter 2010, the U.S. dollar has fallen 14 percent since the start of the index.

      Read more: FOREX Dollar Vs. Basket |

    6. The Dollar rose 22% against the Euro from May of 2011 to Aug 2012. It has fallen back since, but it is still a 14% gain.

      Interactive Chart

    7. This was during the time of Quantitative Easing.

    8. You'll notice that the Dollar has strengthened approx. 24% since July of '08.

    9. You can pick all sorts of points, like July of 08 (which was the US dollars lowest point vs a basket) to make it look like you were right, but you aren't. As Rat pointed out, over 40 years we've seen a 14% decline. If you look at 10 the number is much higher. From a Canadian perspective things are much bigger. The CDN dollar traded around 60-70 cents US for many years (i.e. 80's and 90's) and now it is higher than the US dollar.

      There are many factors involved in exchange rates and much volatility and when you add in the US gloabal exchange status things are even more complicated (US dollar values spike in times of crisis of late and we've had a lot of crises latesly) but in general the US dollar has been on a steady decline and this has encouraged other countries to also try to get their exchange rates down.

      As I've said before once the Euro crisis finishes its work out there is great risk for the US dollar. Running the printing presses can be helpful as the world deleverages but once the printing press is used to back-stop sovereign borrowing things can get real nasty real quick.

    10. Values rise and fall, over a forty year period.

      Which is not to say, as ash did, there is a US/FED policy of keeping the US dollar down

      The Fed policy, of late, has been to strengthen the dollar. As rufus points out occurred since 2008.
      This reality invalidates ash's argument, in the short term.

      Ash then moves from comparing the USD from the "Basket" to the Canuck dollar, as his "Basket" argument was proved invalid.

    11. He then moves from historical realities to projecting a future scenario that is, in truth, an unknowable.

    12. The spread between the USD and the Canuck dollar has more to do with Canadian policies than US.

      Shown by the USD relationship with the entire Forex basket, rather than any single currency within it.

    13. WTF rat?? I gave you a link to a site where you can put all kinds of timeframes into it and get results. As you stated, over 40 years the US dollar has fallen 14% against a basket of currencies.

      Now, what are the US/FED intentions? Who knows, but the effect of quantative easing and low interest rates is to depress demand for dollars (pretty basic supply/demand and low return on investment stuff). Many other countries (i.e. Japan, China) have also tried to keep their currencies low. I simply pointed out Canada's valuation vis a vis the US dollar as but one example. Yes the Canadian dollar has been strong due to its link to commodities and oil but it also trades on other factors.

      The US has experienced current account deficits for years and it has been relatively uncompetitive as a manufacturing base (you've lamented the flood of factories off shore many a time) and all of these factors lead to a lower US dollar. It is also reasonable, from a policy perspective, to work towards a lower dollar, while, of course, maintaining publicly that a neutral/strong dollar is the goal. They've been talking out both sides of their mouth for years but the world is, like Rufus noted of the past, racing to the bottom trying to protect their slice of the pie.

    14. .

      I agree with you in general Ash. The point I disagree is that no one knows the FED intentions. While the FED likes to be clever and parse their wording on policy, on occasion they come out and speak clearly about their intentions.

      There are so many factors that go into the equation as to just why a currency rises or falls it is difficult to figure which is the most important at a particular point in time, QE on the one hand vs. the safety factor for example, or many more. However, it is easier to figure what FED policy supports during that same period of time given the words of the FED Chairman.

      Don't have time to dig up the quotes, but over the past year or so, Bernanke has publically stated that it is important for him to try keep the markets humming along (a third mandate?). He feels it generates confidence in the economy (a simplistic view in my opinion given the current make-up of participants) and will eventually lead to increased GDP and more jobs.

      The markets love a weak dollar. That is why the market is rising at this time despite the dismal job reports and the questions on the EU. The markets expect the bad news will force the FED into another round of QE.

      Peverse in a way.


    15. Many think QE3 is priced into the stock markets already. We shall see as the reports I've read today suggest it is going to happen.

      Another interesting article I read suggest the very low VIX (volitility index) we are currently experiencing is harbinger of trouble ahead (last time VIX was this low was back in '07)

      I fully agree we don't know their intentions (the FED in particular).

    16. And, ash, I submitted that forty years ago the USD was over valued, vis a vie the Basket.

      It is also evident that the value of the USD fluctuates up and down.
      You submitted that it was Fed policy to drive it down.
      That has not been the case since 2008, as rufus pointed out.

    17. Yes, you submitted it was overvalued, well, I submit it was undervalued. One can make stats lie if one likes. Heck, lets pick 1985 as our start point where the dollar was worth 155 versus the basket and today where it is worth 80.39, a drop of approximately 50%.

    18. as to the Fed policy, well, they've got a dual mandate with part of being full employment. How do you juice employment? Devalue!

  5. All the Euro has done is bring back all the problems, and inequalities of the gold standard. A Fiat currency, and Floating exchange rates allow the market to instantaneously adjust to changing circumstances, and imbalances.

    Greece only has two industries - Shipping, and tourism. Not much you can do, one way or the other about shipping, but a drachma that sold at its natural level would bring tourism back to boom times.

    1. Actually, now that I think about it, even their shipping companies would benefit, tremendously, from a weaker currency.

  6. Charles E. Wilson at his Congressional confirmation hearings to become Secretary of Defense in the Eisenhower administration. Wilson was defending his reluctance to sell millions of dollars of General Motors stock.

    When asked if he as Secretary of Defense could make a decision adverse to the interests of General Motors, Wilson answered that he could not conceive of such a situation, “because for years I thought what was good for the country was good for General Motors and vice versa.”
    General Electric’s chief executive Jeff Immelt (the head of the Obama administration’s, “jobs council”) acknowledges that the health and well being of a company such as GE is now less connected to the well being of the American economy. Immelt says, “I’m a GE leader first and foremost. At the same time…I work for an American company.”

    In 2000 some 54 percent of GE employees worked in the United States. In 2010 about 46 percent of General Electric’s 287,000 employees worked in the United States. GE laid off 21,000 American workers and closed 20 factories between 2007 and 2009.

    The company, led by Immelt, earned $14.2 billion in profits in 2010, but paid no Federal taxes because the bulk of those profits, some $9 billion, were offshore. The year 2010 was the second year in a row that GE paid no taxes. General Electric states that it “pays what it owes under the law.”

    The "Law" stinks and doesn't taste much better.

  7. The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Monday shows President Obama attracting support from 50% of voters nationwide, while Mitt Romney earns 45% of the vote. Two percent (2%) prefer some other candidate, and three percent (3%) are undecided.

    Rasmussen's Electoral College numbers remain unchanged.

    Obama: 247 - Romney: 196 - Toss-up: 95

  8. Well, Obammie got hisself a nice little convention bump; now we'll see how much he can keep.

  9. A recent research project from the Commonwealth Fund explains why this distinction matters so much: There are tens of millions of Americans who lack continuous coverage.

    Last month, the nonprofit organization released its annual look at gaps in health insurance. It found that, between 2004 and 2007, 89 million Americans had at least a single one-month gap in insurance coverage. They were not, in other words, continually insured.

    That works out to 36 percent of the population between age 4 and 65. Some had longer gaps; about 12 million were uninsured for the entire four-year study period. A larger number – 14 million – experienced one single gap in coverage.

    89 Million Americans fall through the cracks in Romney's new plan.


  10. So far, the only pundit/writer that has caught on to Romney's "Continuous Coverage" is Ezra klein. He's a bit sharper than the average bear.

  11. Voter fraud does not exist -

    Maryland Democrat exits congressional race due to allegations of voter fraud
    posted at 5:21 pm on September 10, 2012 by Erika Johnsen

    Wendy Rosen, a small-business owner running as a Democrat for Maryland’s 1st Congressional district, quit the race today after her party reported to state officials that she is currently registered for, and has recently participated in, the elections of both Maryland and Florida. WaPo reports:

    “Personal issues have made this the hardest decision that I have had to make,” Rosen said [in a statement.]

    Rosen’s announcement came the same day the state Democratic party released a letter to state Attorney General Douglas Gansler and state prosecutors reporting the allegations against Rosen.

    “The Maryland Democratic Party has discovered that Ms. Rosen has been registered to vote in both Florida and Maryland since at least 2006; that she in fact voted in the 2006 general election both in Florida and Maryland; and that she voted in the presidential preference primaries held in both Florida and Maryland in 2008,” wrote Yvette Lewis, the state party chair. “This information is based on an examination of the voter files from both states. We believe that this is a clear violation of Maryland law and urge the appropriate office to conduct a full investigation.”

    Apparently, the state party found out about the voter-fraud stain on her record and pressured her to resign. She spoke with the Baltimore Sun on Monday, claiming that she just can’t remember whether she voted twice — in the elections of two different states — or not.

    Rosen, a Cockeysville businesswoman who is registered to vote in Maryland, told The Baltimore Sun on Monday that she also registered in Florida, where she owned land, in order to support a “very close friend” running for the St. Petersburg City Council and to vote on local issues there.

    Rosen, asked by The Sun whether she voted twice in the 2008 presidential primary, said she did not remember how she voted.

    Mm hmm. Nobody seems to have been forecasting that Rosen would have won the race — against Republican freshman Rep. Andy Harris — anyways, as the recently redrawn district has been growing increasingly Republican-leaning. But, I’m just left wondering — and correct me if I’m wrong here — did Democrats just admit that voter fraud exists? Because I thought we were supposed to believe that voter fraud isn’t a real thing, and isn’t something we should waste our time worrying about nor “suppressing” people’s votes with voter ID laws, or something?

  12. Yeh, let's pass laws that disenfranchise 25% of the Black, AND under 21 vote, because of that goofy broad.

    gimmee a break.

    1. I will. Take a break, Ruf. You need a good l o n g vacation.

      You've been working way too hard!

  13. Coffee smelled great this morning but tasted like kerosine after partying with Q and Thinker all night at the Henge.

    never, never again

    Q made $43.20 as scarecrow.

    Odd number.

    Tomorrow: Kansas Oil Museum, El Dorado, Kansas.

    Was a wonderful rest stop earlier on. Runs on solar, wind, and geothermal.

    All lights were off.

    Not making this up.

    Lusk Rest Stop

  14. Bad Bob's at Powder River, Wyoming, pop. 20

    Business is booming, no need of stimulus money here.

    scroll down to visit Bob's.

    1. Bob's motto: I built this business with no help from nobody!

  15. Pig farmers quit as feed prices soar...


    DICK MORRIS: Obama Thugs Rough Up GALLUP For Polls They Don't Like...


    Time to ask Obama about his fraudulent Social Security Number:

    1. Including 284 comments Rufus won't read -

    2. Why did you quit giving us those Rasmussen updates, Bob? It's been days, now.

  16. .

    Does anyone but me think that the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, the time wasted on it, the delays, the political arguments, the costs so far, the projected total cost ($1.3 billion), or the ongoing annual costs ($60 million) are absolutely ridiculous.

    Some will say it is a memorial to the 3,000 people who died there on 9/11 and it has to be done large to keep 9/11 alive. I say it is merely a testimony to those who were left behind, at least some of them, that and the pride of the 'Big Apple' that seems to think everything it does has to be...well...big.

    Look at the costs then compare them to these:

    Vietnam Memorial (Construction Cost: $8-10 million, probably around $20 million in today's dollars)

    Arlington Cemetary (Annual cost: $45 million)

    This one did surprise me, though

    But the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has an $81.2 million budget for this year, about $51 million of it expected in federal money and the rest from private donations and investment income. It has averaged about 1.8 million visitors annually over its 19 years.

    Initially, what the survivor families asked for was a simple monument remembering the dead. Many of them would still prefer that. But then the pols and the "The Foundation" got involved and the project grew like Topsy. Now it's more a 'Cirque du Soleil New York" production than an actual memorial.

    Debate On Costs


    1. That was some Sabbatical, Q.

      I've taken longer Naps. :)

  17. We're down 2.2 Million Jobs in the Construction Industry. Tha's a bunch.

    Construction Jobs