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July 2, 2011

Noli me tangere spiked headband — Why should dogs have all the fun?

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[via Svpply, sharlene and badgirlsgoeverywhere]

July 2, 2011 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Robotic Perfumer

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Is it possible to automate the creation of a great perfume?

According to a December 9, 2011 article in The Economist, possibly.

Excerpts follow.

Perfumes have colourful descriptions, such as floral or musky, to give buyers an inkling of their aromas. But perfumers often disagree about how to describe a particular fragrance, so the classification of scents is inconsistent.

One reason why people describe smells differently is a weakness of the nose. Although the human sense of smell is keen, it is hampered by a lack of precision. When presented with hundreds of odours, the nose can simultaneously distinguish only a few. Keenly aware of these problems, Alírio Rodrigues at the University of Porto in Portugal and his colleagues compiled an extensive list of scent descriptions from the existing databases used by the perfume industry. They found that eight general terms for scents (citrus, floral, green, fruity, herbaceous, musk, oriental and woody) could work as families to which more than 2,000 specific scents could be assigned. The team then plotted these eight families onto a map that resembled the plots on a radar screen.

Dr Rodrigues then tested what the group calls its "perfumery radar" by presenting it with four essential scent oils: orange, lemon, jasmine and thyme. To do this, the oils were broken into their component parts and analysed using gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. This allows molecules of oil to be compared against a spectral library which could identify them chemically and assign each oil to one of the eight families.

The team already knew that lemon and orange should naturally fall into the citrus family, jasmine should be floral and thyme herbaceous. But would the perfumery radar make the same choices? Dr Rodrigues was pleased to discover it did. He then put it to work classifying 14 perfumes, including Chanel No 19, Dior’s Addict and Kenzo’s Jungle Tigre. The team compared their system’s classification with those of industry experts, with noses that can discern fine details, working for three firms in the scent business, Osmoz, Scent Direct and Haarmann & Reimer (H&R).

Some perfumes, like Chanel No 19, described by all three firms as floral-green, offered little challenge to the radar. However, for perfumes like Jungle Tigre, described by Osmoz as "oriental-spicy" and by H&R as "chypre-fruity", the radar came up with a sensible midway description, declaring it to be strongly floral in character with green and oriental subfamilies.

Overall, as the researchers report in Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, their system agreed with assessments made by experts who had come to similar conclusions, and it provided logical descriptions for perfumes that are frequently disputed. The researchers plan to make their radar available as a product which they believe perfumers can use to save time and money developing new scents.

Below, the abstract of the scientific paper cited above.

Perfumery Radar: A Predictive Tool for Perfume Family Classification

The classification of perfumes into olfactory families has been done for years on the basis of sensorial analysis or odor descriptors, but none of these methods has attained universal acceptance. In this work is presented a methodology called perfumery radar (PR) that predicts the classification of perfumes using the olfactive families that perfumers use. The PR introduces some scientific basis, reducing the arbitrariness of perfume classification to the empirical classification of pure odorants. The odor intensity of pure fragrances in a liquid mixture is predicted using the odor value concept, considering molecular interactions between components. Radar plots are used to represent olfactory families and transform quantitative information into qualitative. Perfumery radars have been obtained for several commercial perfumes and compared with existing experimental classifications. Another validation using headspace GC analysis was also performed with satisfactory results. It is shown that the PR methodology is able to predict the primary olfactive family of perfumes, according to the experimental classification given by perfumers. The prediction of secondary and tertiary families agreed with some of the empirical classifications in most cases, although there was little agreement among those at this level.

The best book I've ever read about perfume and its mysteries is Chandler Burr's "The Emperor of Scent: A True Story of Perfume and Obsession," about the great perfumer (and personality) Luca Turin.

July 2, 2011 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Steampunk Mr. Potato Head

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Its creator, Sarah Calvillo, wrote on instructables, "Spudnik, as I call him, was a project that was inspired by a craft swap. Designers and crafters alike randomly were paired with a different theme and a material. My theme was 'steampunk' and my material was 'old toy."

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"Every project was open for interpretation. I went to the Chelsea Flea Market in Manhattan to find some vintage toys. There were so many to choose from, but I soon realized that picking up an already aged and gritty toy would take the fun out of making something look steampunk. This is how I arrived at Target with a Mr. Potato Head in my hand."

More photos here.

Process shots here.

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Sarah Calvillo's portfolio site here.

[via Flautist]

July 2, 2011 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Mondrian Socks

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$10.

[via Svpply]

July 2, 2011 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tuba Guy

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Today's Washington Post Metro section front page story by Fredrick Kunkle features Jay Converse (above and below), a 55-year-old Northern Virginia computer specialist who recently brought his tuba out of storage (he played in the University of Virginia Pep Band before it was disbanded for one too many insults to visiting teams) for the 30th reunion of the band, then decided to keep on playing it around town.

Wrote Kunkle, "Before his walk this week, Tuba Guy suited up in a pair of cargo shorts, a Guiness Ale T-shirt, running shoes and a stars-and-stripes kerchief. He donned the 30-pound tuba, which is accessorized with a pink propeller, a TUBA license plate, and several miniature American flags."

And: "Lately, his walkabout jam sessions have taken on the character of training as he prepares to enter a marathon, although he has not decided which one. With a Facebook page and a growing number of fans following his progress, the question is not only whether he can hack the distance, but can he handle the local fame?"

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More: "Down a long, vacant stretch of road, the solitary tuba seemed to transform the world around it. Trees tossed in the breeze, cars whooshed by, and between the steady tramp of grit under his shoes and the rollicking notes of the tuba, he entered the strange solitude that can sometimes be found along the wide, grassy roads of the suburbs."

Slide show accompanying the Post story here.

FairfaxUnderground started a forum about Tuba Guy last October which is quite entertaining.

Fairfax Underground Wiki here.

So where is the YouTube video?!

Everyone knows that if it isn't on YouTube, it didn't really happen.

Come on, NoVa, get with the program and post some footage.

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Whoever does so will see their video go viral in a Fairfax minute.

July 2, 2011 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Umbrella Transformer

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"In addition to collapsing into an easy-to-carry handbag,

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the umbrella inverts as it does so, thus capturing the water on the inside instead of letting it drip within whatever interior space you are entering."

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"Morever the designer, Seung Hee Son, has thought out how the transformation process can be done in a dry, comfortable and easy fashion,

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with one hand on the handle and the other hand performing the conversion without getting wet." 

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[via Joe Peach, Ned Hardy, ReubenMiller and Dornob]

July 2, 2011 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Two sets of teeth at the Hunterian Museum

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"Child's skull with baby teeth and adult teeth, Hunterian Museum, London."

[via Richard Kashdan and Stefan Schäfer's flickr]

July 2, 2011 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Carr's Cheese Melts: Best. Cracker. Ever.

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I happened on them at Giant yesterday.

Incomprehensibly crispy and delicious.

FileBlob

Just named Official Cracker©™® of bookofjoe.

July 2, 2011 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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