November 11, 2019

Dutch town smells like poo because of trees

Filed under: Nature,Weird by Orangemaster @ 8:31 pm

It has gone quite wrong with planting gingko biloba trees in Valkenswaard, Noord-Brabant. The female trees are dioecious, with separate sexes, and the female trees produce seeds that contain a type of acid that ‘smells like rancid butter or vomit’, although the residents of the city say it smells like poo.

The goal was to plant male trees that look slightly different and don’t have an odour, but that got messed up, and some streets apparently smell really disgusting. Residents are cleaning up the seeds, but even after putting them in the bins, they continue to stink the place up. The trees will not be replaced, but the seeds will be cleaned up by the city more often.

(Link: waarmaarraar.nl, Photo of Ginko biloba tree by BM Begovic Bego, some rights reserved)

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December 14, 2015

Killing mosquitoes using human foot odour traps

Filed under: Science,Weird by Orangemaster @ 11:37 am

In 2006 Dutch scientist Bart Knols observed that malaria-carrying mosquitoes are attracted to smelly human feet, convincing fellow scientist Renate Smallegange‚Äôs to follow in his smelly footsteps devising mosquito traps using human foot odour. Knols figured out that when standing up, mosquitoes would go for people’s feet, prompting Smallegange to zoom in on this discovery. At Wageningen University she collects people’s smelly socks to carry out research on trapping mosquitoes who transmit malaria through their bite, affecting millions of people every year.

According to this radio interview, carbon dioxide is what first attracts mosquitoes to people, however since 2006, we also know that smelly feet do that as well. She explains that clean socks are not attractive at all to mosquitoes, smelly socks are very attractive, but when you add carbon dioxide, you could trap roughly 45 to 75% of all malaria-carrying mosquitoes. And the sock only needs to be worn for a day!

No, foot odour doesn’t work on ‘regular’ mosquitoes, and yes, the idea is to design traps with a specific built-in odour, not some African villager’s dirty socks or shipping socks over to Africa.

(Link: www.improbable.com, Image by A.E. Goeldi, in the public domain)

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December 29, 2014

Experiencing celebrities’ dying moments with smells

Filed under: Art,History by Orangemaster @ 1:02 pm

Famous deaths

Late November’s opening of the temporary exhibition ‘Sense of Smell’ of the Avans Hogeschool in Breda, a research project entitled ‘Famous Deaths’ featured a metal morgue-like box with the smells depicting the last five minutes of four famous people: Whitney Houston, Princess Diana, Muammar Gaddafi and John F. Kennedy.

“Those wanting to experience Houston’s final moments are transported to a bathtub at the upmarket Beverly Hills hotel where the diva died in February 2012. To the sounds of splashing water and Houston’s voice, a visitor first gets a whiff of generic cleaner, used in hotels around the world, followed by the olive oil the singer used in her tub. Then a strong chemical odour, similar to that of cocaine fills the box, grabbing its occupant by the throat, followed by the sound of rushing water and then silence.”

The metal boxes were completely dark inside and rigged with pipes leading to bottles containing pressurised smells. A soundtrack is played and on queue different scents are released into the box to recreate a specific final moment.

Avans mentioned that other institutions showed interest in the installation, so who knows what dead person we may have the chance to smell in 2015.

(Links: www.bndestem.nl, www.businessinsider.com)

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March 13, 2013

The perfume that had everything

Filed under: Art by Branko Collin @ 8:17 pm

Amsterdam-based artists Lernert & Sander write:

Everything is a perfume by Lernert & Sander consisting of all fragrances launched in 2012. Over the last year Lernert & Sander collected almost 1400 samples of newly launched fragrances. By mixing the content of all of these bottles, they created 1.5 litre of Everything. This unique perfume comes in a specially designed and hand blown bottle, an enlargement of a classic sample bottle.

The result? Eric Wilson of the New York Times wrote:

It smelled, at first whiff, of strawberries mixed with salt, along with hints of baseball mitt and hair spray. And tuberose, yes. And licorice and fresh paint. And musk and rotten peaches and honeysuckle and basil and soap.

It was awful.

Apparently a bottle of 1400 free samplers goes for 30,000 euro these days.

The Huffington Post quotes the artists themselves:

“When Lernert tried it on in our studio yesterday and took the tram, the unbelievably handsome man that came to sit next to him instantly got up and found another seat after smelling Everything,” said Lernert and Sander via email. “But, hey, Everything is not for everyone.”

(Video: Vimeo / Lernert & Sander. Photo: video still)

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