Author Archive | ralph

Astronauts Lose Their Sense of Smell and Crave Spicy Food in Space

RedChiliPepperAs someone who knows the feeling (without the space travel: Godspeed Jon Glenn!) I am amazed that astronauts develop temporary anosmia in space: wow, never heard that before. Joe Palca writes on NPR’s Food Blog:

If you think astronauts just want dehydrated dinners and freeze-dried ice cream, think again. After a few days in space, they start reaching for the hot sauce. In fact, they may start craving foods they didn’t necessarily like on Earth.

“They crave [spicy] peppers, they crave sour and sweet things,” says Jean Hunter, a food engineer at Cornell University. That means Tabasco sauce was definitely on the menu for space shuttle astronauts. Why this sudden interest in hot peppers? Part of the reason may be that after arriving in space, astronauts lose their sense of smell, which largely governs the pleasurable taste of food. An example of this is coffee. “If you hold your nose and sip your coffee, you’re getting just a bitter liquid,” says Hunter.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

The New Disinfocast with Matt Staggs

New DisinfocastiTunes | Download (mp3)

The Disinformation Company is excited to announce the return of the Disinformation Podcasts with The Disinfocast, hosted by Matt Staggs. Matt Staggs is a writer and longtime aficionado of the curious and bizarre. A career spent in journalism and psychology has led Matt to to the understanding that exploring why people believe the things they do is just as important as the things themselves. When he’s not reading, podcasting or writing, you can usually find Matt arguing over a table full of strange books and funny dice. Follow him on Twitter at @mattstaggs.

Matt’s first guest will surely be familiar to listeners of the Disinformation Podcasts over the years, it’s former host, now author of The Georgia Guidestones: America’s Most Mysterious Monument: Raymond Wiley!

Join Raymond and Matt as they discuss this great mystery: the Georgia Guidestones are at once a Rosetta Stone, an astronomical observatory, and a road map for rebuilding civilization.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

The JFK Speech That Made Rick Santorum Want to “Throw Up” (Video)

I’m really wondering if the goal now of the Republican Party is to get Barack Obama re-elected. Scott Collins reports in the LA Times:

Rick Santorum has not been a frequent presence on the Sunday morning chat shows during his Republican presidential campaign. But when he shows up, he really makes an impression.

On Sunday, the former Pennsylvania senator told ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” that a 1960 speech by John F. Kennedy to Baptist ministers in Houston made him want to “throw up.” In the speech, Kennedy, then running for president, tried to reassure critics that, as a Catholic, he would not take orders from the pope and that he believed in “absolute” separation of church and state.

Continue Reading

Journalism and The View From Nowhere

The View From NowhereInteresting self-created Q&A found on Jay Rosen’s PressThink:

Q. You’ve been using this phrase, “the view from nowhere,” for a while

A. Yeah, since 2003…

Q. So what do you mean by it?

A. Three things. In pro journalism, American style, the View from Nowhere is a bid for trust that advertises the viewlessness of the news producer. Frequently it places the journalist between polarized extremes, and calls that neither-nor position “impartial.” Second, it’s a means of defense against a style of criticism that is fully anticipated: charges of bias originating in partisan politics and the two-party system. Third: it’s an attempt to secure a kind of universal legitimacy that is implicitly denied to those who stake out positions or betray a point of view. American journalists have almost a lust for the View from Nowhere because they think it has more authority than any other possible stance.

Q.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

The Wow! Signal: SETI’s Most Tantalizing Recording

Wow! SignalGood article about the mysterious Wow! signal from Ross Andersen in the Atlantic:

Late one night in the summer of 1977, a large radio telescope outside Delaware, Ohio intercepted a radio signal that seemed for a brief time like it might change the course of human history. The telescope was searching the sky on behalf of SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, and the signal, though it lasted only seventy-two seconds, fit the profile of a message beamed from another world. Despite its potential import, several days went by before Jerry Ehman, a project scientist for SETI, noticed the data.

He was flipping through the computer printouts generated by the telescope when he noticed a string of letters within a long sequence of low numbers — ones, twos, threes and fours. The low numbers represent background noise, the low hum of an ordinary signal. As the telescope swept across the sky, it momentarily landed on something quite extraordinary, causing the signal to surge and the computer to shift from numbers to letters and then keep climbing all the way up to “U,” which represented a signal thirty times higher than the background noise level.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Mitt Romney Claims To Be “Severely Conservative”

It’s like watching a robot self-destruct … David Frum opines on CNN:

Mitt Romney ended a very bad week with a pretty good weekend.

Tuesday, Romney lost two caucuses and a nonbinding primary to Rick Santorum. Saturday, Romney won the also nonbinding Maine caucuses and the straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

Four weeks from now, no one will remember the Maine caucuses. I’m guessing though that people will remember a phrase from Romney’s speech to CPAC on Friday, in which he described himself as a “severely conservative” governor of Massachusetts.

Continue Reading