Sir William Herschel was a musician before he became an astronomer, he composed and taught music. A contemporary of Handel, his music is still heard -- it was heard by me this week on the local classical music radio station. He gave it up and became one of the greatest astronomers. He had a philosophical and wide ranging mind, perhaps the first "modern" mind in astronomy. He was the first to realize that we might be able to see light of stars that have been dead for millions of years. th Caroline, Hershel's little sister [she was barely 5 feet due to childhood illness and a ill treatment], was his able assistant after giving up a possible singing career. She too discovered many new astral wonders, especially comets. She was a celebrity in her own right.
This week I read that of all the known universes we can now see and name [thousands of which the Herschels were the first to see] possibly three times as many exist beyond our ability to see them. The wonder of the galaxies is truly beyond imagination.
But down to earth, salt has come to my attention. Salt is used in almost all prepared foods, it serves to enhance taste, to preserve food, and to mask tastes we don't like [e.g., bitterness] which is why I put salt on grapefruit. We Americans eat too much salt. Mayor Blumberg of NYC wants to make people aware of how much they're eating. [Already on the fat and calorie front, he's passed a law that fast food places must display the calorie count of their items -- and believe me, I think twice at Starbucks when choosing a muffin or scone]. He is trying to make people equally aware of the salt in fast foods.
It's known that salt affects blood pressure and diuretics have been prescribed with high blood pressure medications for many years. It's less well known that salt's flavor can change the perceived "mouth feel" of foods some people think are icky, thus making, say tapioca pudding pleasanter and helping those who must eat pureed food because of swallowing problems get some pleasure out of their diet.
We know how important taste is and sometimes we don't think much about scent. But marketers are thinking about it a lot. They not only use those scent strips to advertise perfume [which all smell alike to me] and the scratch off dots to advertise various kinds of deodorizers, but they are thinking of ways to "odorize" billboards, say for a steak house, fill the air near by with the scent of charcoal and pepper. Note: almost all the chemicals used to produce artificial scents are allergenic and possibly carcinogenic. Might we say that some allergies and cancers are a by-product of advertising?
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