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How About . . . Not?
Some New Year’s resolutions for other people
Scraping the Bottom of the Proust Barrel
Please! When writing about smell don’t reference Proust unless you are discussing his misguided ideas about smell memory and the false claims made on his behalf. Yes, I’m talking to Lucia F. Jacobs, professor in the Psychology Department at my alma mater, Cal Berkeley. She studies olfactory cognition in animals and just published some interesting ideas regarding the philosophical underpinnings of that topic.
Sadly, she went the cliché route and titled her article “The PROUST hypothesis: the embodiment of olfactory cognition.” All in the pursuit of a catchy acronym (“Perceiving and Reconstructing Odor Utility in Space and Time”) that is gratuitous and tired at the same time. Enough already!
Sustainability is Boring
Judging from the drumbeat of news releases in trade rag Perfumer & Flavorist, sustainability is the bandwagon onto which every fragrance & flavor company wants to climb. Here are some stories from just the past month:
BASF Awarded ‘A’ CDP Rating for Sustainable Water Management
Firmenich Receives Fifth CDP Triple-A Rating
Firmenich Releases 2022 Sustainability Performance Report
IFF Receives P&G’s Inaugural Supplier Sustainability Award
The urge to brag about your company’s ESG score can border on the ludicrous: “Robertet Ranked Top 50 on French ESG Report.”
Wow. 49th out of 50 . . . in France! Yay, Robertet!
Sustainability fans may be righteous, but they are also a tad sanctimonious. It’s like listening to a newly converted vegan drone on about the benefits of his diet. Piss off already and pass the bacon-wrapped dates.
The title of this new preprint caught my eye:
Cool, if true, no? I was curious about the method. Did they have the patient take a snort of imaging agent and then snake an flexible optical probe up his nose? Nasal endoscopy is harmless but rather uncomfortable. It sort of strains the definition of “non-invasive.” So I read the article.
Guess what? No patients. They studied a bunch of mice and hamsters and three monkeys. The animals were injected with the fluorescent imaging agent (invasive by definition) and the actual imaging was done on tissue samples after the animals were euthanized (maximal invasiveness!).
Sure, the results might eventually lead to non-invasive imaging for the diagnosis of smell loss. But really, people, think about rephrasing your title before submitting it for reelz.
And on a Personal Note
Cosmopolitan has cranked out a list of “100 Gender-Neutral Names for Your Future Heir” for those of you who want to back-pedal after engaging in some decidedly non-gender-neutral behavior.
It’s a boy’s name and every elf knows it.
Happy New Year to everyone but the gender neutralizers at Cosmo!
Lucia F. Jacobs (2022). The PROUST hypothesis: the embodiment of olfactory cognition. Animal Cognition, published online December 21, 2022.
Dauren Adilbay, Junior Gonzales, Marianna Zazhytska, Paula Demetrio de Souza Franca, Sheryl Roberts, Tara Viray, Raik Artschwager, Snehal Patel, Albana Kodra, Jonathan B. Overdevest, Chun Yuen Chow, Glenn F. King, Sanjay K. Jain, Alvaro A. Ordonez, Laurence S. Carroll, Thomas Reiner, and Nagavarakishore Pillarsetty. (2022). Non-invasive diagnostic method to objectively measure olfaction and diagnose smell disorders by molecularly targeted fluorescent imaging agent. Posted to bioRxiv.org on November 29, 2022.