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Everything posted by g.johnson

  1. Stephen Jay Gould may write well but he's unreliable on evolution.
  2. Bloody ingrate. If we hadn't been distracting Plotnicki over there he'd have been spending more time over here trashing Italian food.
  3. Yes, yes! He's turning into James Joyce. More Beckett, I think.
  4. The Cold Six Thousand. Ellroy gets more austerely incomprehensible by the book, and his characters are little more than a compilation of the same few ticks, but he's reinvented the hard-boiled* detective novel and I love 'em. Edit: *Mandatory food reference.
  5. Just take the ends of the tablecloth and tie them behind your neck.
  6. Riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs . . . But that's shorter and easier to understand.
  7. Diminutive of OF nappe, a tablecloth No no no, stop jesting Prof. You know I wasn't talking about "napkin", I was talking about "diaper". Is that even in the OED, and if so why ? Oops. Sorry. Diaper from the Greek dia-, through, and aspros, white.
  8. Ha. Plotnicki laughs in the face of such odds.
  9. Well, if you're correct your experts are unique. As I posted above, I work with people who are highly trained at interpreting x-ray films but who wouldn't trust themselves to make objective comparisons between two types of film. (And the human visual system is vastly more sophisticated than the taste system.) Absolutely. But the fact that identification of tastes relies on memory is a reason to distrust it since memories are highly fallible. Secondly, the ability to store taste memories evolved to help make decisions like "is this thing good to eat or will it kill me?" However, the brain will have evolved to use all the data available: taste, smell, shape, colour, where it's growing, etc. I can see no evolutionary reason why an ability to analyze taste independently of other cues should have arisen. Taste memory can operate without visual clues but it will only do so if there are no visual cues. This is borne out by the study cited by lizziee where wine experts were fooled into describing a white wine as tannic by the addition of red dye.
  10. If you are trained. But no one other than Fat Guy blindfolds himself in restaurants.
  11. According to the OED, the serviette meaning dates to at least 1420; the diaper meaning to only 1845. Diminutive of OF nappe, a tablecloth
  12. Yes. But I drool uncontrollably so paper disintegrates.
  13. Not at all. I challenge you to find any statement, on any thread, by myself, Yvonne, Wilfrid, Balic or balex denying the existence of acute tasters. All we have denied is the ability of any taster to entirely shut out visual and other non-taste cues when tasting.
  14. The work won an award from the Academie Amorim, a private organization that funds oenological research with the aim of promoting the enjoyment of wine. They evidently had no problem with it.
  15. Science is always in that position: explaining why things are the way they are. And, if the experiment I posted to above is to be believed, we have now explained the taste of connoisseurs: they like what they like because they believe they should like it.
  16. Then they weren't scientists. They were engineers. Glorified technicians.
  17. No, no, no, no, no. Contrary to Priscilla's suggestion serviette is non-U precisely because it is French. So pudding rather than dessert. Fillet rather than filet. And, for god's sake, remember to sound the 't' in valet.
  18. Prof. any truth in this? Could put Plontnicki on the ropes. I don't know. The original paper, here, is in Frenglish and pretty impenetrable. However, I strongly suspect that the ability to identify flavour cues in wine is a higher cognitive function, related to the ability to memorize those cues in a systematic manner. That is not to say that there aren't supertasters and supersmellers with more taste/olfactory receptors. But rather that those won't do you any good if you can't categorize what you're tasting/smelling. And if it's a higher function then it'll be found somewhere in the frontal cortex near all those other higher functions relating to visual recognition, language, etc.
  19. Besides, much of the empirical evidence is based on 'real world' tests on experts. Like this one.
  20. I think not. I work with radiologists who are extraordinarily well trained in detecting small abnormalities in various scans. In some tests – ultrasound, mammography, chest x-rays – the changes can be so subtle that you and I would not recognize them even after they've been pointed out. I suspect that a radiologist's ability to detect these visual cues is every bit as acute as a wine expert's ability to detect the olfactory cues that identify a particular wine. And yet if I were designing a study to compare the sensitivity of two types of x-ray film, say, I would 'blind' the radiologist to the type of film he was reading. Otherwise his expectations (that the new film is superior, say) will bias the results. This is not a conscious attempt at 'cheating' on the part of the radiologist but simply the effect that expectations have on judgments. The necessity of blind trials is universally recognized in science. So, no matter how skilled the taster, no matter how strenuously he attempts to separate appearance from flavour, I do not believe that he will entirely succeed. All the evidence that lizziee, indiagirl and I have presented suggests the opposite. All I see on the other side of the debate is wishful thinking.
  21. Perhaps we should just organize a telling Plotnicki he's wrong rota. I'll take the 10 to 2 EST shift.
  22. I don't believe that's right in the context we're discussing. After all, this is eGullet and not a discussion group on holiday destinations or bungee jumping Why do you "think we must" equate taste with perception of flavour ? I think we must because that's what taste means in this context: to taste something is to perceive its flavour. I'm only asking for a score on flavour, not presentation, as in your original setup. Of course. No one is claiming that poor presentation will make something good taste terrible or vice versa. I'm not suggesting that they'd consciously let it affect their score. My thesis is that presentation unconsciously affects the way we taste something.
  23. how many of which were on death row? I would guess most since the exonnerating evidence will often be semen. Rape-murders attract the death penalty.
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