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smell

Do some perfumes actually contain whale excrement?

6 Apr 2022

Sperm whales subsist on a diet of squid, octopus and cuttle fish, all of which have small hard beaks. The beaks are commonly regurgitated but sometimes may work their way into the lining of the...

The Unbearable Poopness of Bookstores

22 Jan 2022

Imagine you have been walking the aisles of your favourite bookstore for an hour, letting your gaze gaily hop from one spine to the next. You smell the ink and the paper. You hear the dulcet tones...

Zeroing in on the Cause of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

25 Sep 2021

Sometimes, science doesn’t give you the answer you wanted. You may be certain you know what is causing a mysterious phenomenon, but a well-done scientific experiment denies you that satisfaction...

The King of Fruits Needs a Deodorant

21 May 2021

“Your breath will smell as if you’d been French-kissing your dead grandmother.” Anthony Bourdain, chef, journalist, travel documentarian certainly had a way with words. Here he was describing the...

The Smell of Books

18 Feb 2021

Video of Dr Joe Schwarcz on the smell of old and new books Dr. Joe Schwarcz on the smell of old and new books.

Scents and Sensibilities

7 Aug 2020

It is quite amazing how very small changes in an odourant’s chemical structure can radically change our perception of its scent. For example, octanol, a synthetic compound used in perfumes and...

The COVID Science Express: A Vanished Sense of Smell, Viral Origins, and Vaccines

27 Mar 2020

A weekly explanation of the emerging science behind COVID-19 and its infectious agent, SARS-CoV-2. Loss of smell and taste could be a symptom of COVID-19 but not a very specific one

There is a connection between TNT, the male musk deer, and your perfume

26 Feb 2020

Arab perfumers in the sixth century were the first to discover that diluting the obnoxious smelling dried contents of the little pod found near the anus of the male Asian musk deer not only...

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