Nostalgia is not the most toxic impulse

Nostalgia is a funny thing. It's not home sickness, it's more connected to emotions and a time in your life. But is nostalgia worthwhile? Nascent science says it just might be.

How Umami Works!

For millennia humans have recognized four tastes, but in the 1980s a fifth taste first isolated in Japan gained worldwide acceptance - and took off like a rocket! Learn about meaty, musty, savory umami in this episode.

The Best Stuff We've Read This Week

Neat articles on the plastic pink flamingo, true crime, Nudge politics and more.

The Best Stuff We've Read This Week

Each week, Josh and Chuck read tons of great articles, some of them really good. Here are the best of the bunch for your enjoyment.

The Best Stuff We've Read This Week

Each week, Josh and Chuck read tons of material and a lot of it is really good. Here's the best of the bunch.

Good day, SYSK Army. Have you ever heard the term "hotter than Georgia asphalt?" Well it's a saying for a good reason. I'm melting as we speak and I'm no where near asphalt. This week on the Stuff You Should Know podcast program, Joshers and I talked about taste and saunas.

Taste and How it Works

Taste seems like a pretty simple sense, but scientists are still trying to figure out exactly how it works. Josh and Chuck explore the complexities of taste, from definitions and physiology to tongue maps and supertasters, in this episode.

I think it's neat that it's 2010 and we still have no idea how we perceive taste. We were supposed to have hovercars and metallic jumpsuits by now and we still only have what can be regarded as a pretty basic understanding of our sense of taste. In the last year or two, though, the scope of what constitutes has expanded tremendously. What we know of taste has thus far been largely observational. We know that taste and smell are inextricably linked since people who lose one also lose the other. We know that the mental constructs of tastes we create and store in our brains are plastic; they can be enhanced and revised by further encounters with a taste. We know our sense of taste can be tricked by chemicals that mock the flavors of foods. We know that there are five specialized taste receptor types; umami (my favorite), sour, sweet, salty and bitter.