Food tasting has been a serious profession since the times of kings. Kings and other important people used to have their personal food tasters who were responsible to determine if the food was safe to eat. From ancient Rome to the present date – Romans used slaves as food tasters, Olympics chose mice for the job, Hitler had an army of 15 women who used to taste his food before him and Vladimir Putin, the Russian president has a food taster among the security staff. I’m sure the US president has one too, but the secret service refuses to confirm any details or even the existence of a person with such a job in his security staff.
Since ancient times the job of a human food taster has turned into a professional job which has a much widened application today. Professional food tasters can be a part of a sensory/consumer or expert panel, are employed by labs and food testing companies to evaluate and improve certain food products for their taste, nutrition etc. Most such jobs require you to have a distinctly evolved sense of taste, a previous professional experience or a degree in something like food science.
At first, getting paid to eat food sounds like a great idea. Well, it doesn’t even sound good if you are going to taste pet food. Anyway, even human food tasting can be hard. It can be a repetitive job. Food flavorists working to test the flavors of teas for instance might have to taste more than 500 cups of tea a day. Plus you might not even qualify for it because of lack of sensory sharpness which is usually a rare genetic trait, or is usually developed by years of training.
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Here’s the quick and hard truth – Mountain Dew is worse for your teeth when compared to Coca Cola. As interpreted by a young scientist, from a simple yet sharp experiment he conducted, there are two main reasons why Mountain Dew is worse thank Coke.
Firstly, Mountain Dew uses citric acid, while Coke uses phosphoric acid to give them their tangy zing. So, since citric acid is an organic acid, it can breakdown organic matter more easily than the inorganic acid used in coke. This is due to the buffering capacity of citric acid (and similar low molecular weight organic acids).
Secondly, even though as a whole Coke has a lower pH of 2.5 as compared to that of Mountain Dew (pH 3.1), which means Coke is six times more acidic owing to the logarithmic nature of this measurement, there’s more to it than just that.
pH measures the strength of the acid in a solution. pH does change due to dilution, but it needs massive dilution to change the pH.
Thus it is more appropriate here to measure the amount of acid actually present in the drink. Which can be done by measuring the Titratable Acidity (TA). TA is the amount of acid molecules present (both protonated and unprotonated) in milligrams or grams per liter of solution available for interaction with the tooth surface.
Continue reading Mountain Dew vs. Coke – Which One is Worse
It makes great sense to us today that we, or for that matter, so many other living beings around us, have eyes that are made up of organic matter. I’m specifically talking about the lenses of our eyes which are made up of organic material like crystallin. These are squishy, jelly-like biological materials which can change shape as muscles pull them and can focus on objects at different distances. Totally makes sense. But these won’t last long.
Imagine getting extinct, organisms finding our fossils a million years later wouldn’t have the slightest idea of how exactly our eye lenses worked.
Eyes of stone
Whereas the earliest creatures which started seeing, about 400 million years ago, had eyes literally made of stone. Their eyes, unlike any of our eyes would ever be able to do, have been preserved in the fossils we uncover today. [NCBI]
Some of the earliest Arthropods that we know of, belonging to a fossil group called Trilobites had eye lenses that were made up of this transparent mineral Calcite (Calcium carbonate). The closest existing relative of these creatures today are the blue blooded Horseshoe crabs.
The kinds of eyes
Broadly, they were of two types.
Continue reading Trilobite Eyes: Calcite Eyes Last Forever