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Looking at Instagrams of Food Makes Eating Less Enjoyable

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We're all guilty of snapping photos of our food and uploading them to social media. And joining your photos on your Instagram feed are pictures from a friend’s farm-to-table brunch, maybe, or snapshots from your sister’s road trip diner meals. But it’s time to put down the phone and look away from Instagram: Researchers found that people who look at pictures of food are less likely to enjoy the next meal they eat.

Ryan Elder and Jeff Larson of Brigham Young University asked 232 people to look at images of food and rate them. The researchers divided the subjects into two groups—one group looked at 60 images of desserts, while the other examined 60 snapshots of salty foods. Participants ranked each photo based on how attractive the food looked. Afterward both groups enjoyed a snack of peanuts.

The group that looked at pictures of salty foods liked the peanuts less than the group who looked at desserts, even though no one saw images of peanuts.

"If you want to enjoy your food consumption experience, avoid looking at too many pictures of food," Larson said. "Even I felt a little sick to my stomach during the study after looking at all the sweet pictures we had."

The researchers believe that food doesn’t taste as good after viewing all those images because looking at a constant stream of photos makes people feel as if they have already experienced the sensation of eating. Whatever someone eats after looking at photos doesn’t seem as good as what she saw.

"In a way, you're becoming tired of that taste without even eating the food," said Elder. "It's sensory boredom—you've kind of moved on. You don't want that taste experience anymore."

But there is some good news: People need to look at a lot of food photos to experience sensory boredom. So if you want to enjoy your next brunch, play it safe and stay away from your foodie friends’ photo albums.

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science
Why a Howling Wind Sounds So Spooky, According to Science
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Halloween is swiftly approaching, meaning you'll likely soon hear creepy soundtracks—replete with screams, clanking chains, and howling winds—blaring from haunted houses and home displays. While the sound of human suffering is frightful for obvious reasons, what is it, exactly, about a brisk fall gust that sends shivers up our spines? In horror movie scenes and ghost stories, these spooky gales are always presented as blowing through dead trees. Do bare branches actually make the natural wailing noises louder, or is this detail added simply for atmospheric purposes?

As the SciShow's Hank Green explains in the video below, wind howls because it curves around obstacles like trees or buildings. When fast-moving air goes around, say, a tree, it splits up as it whips past, before coming back together on the other side. Due to factors such as natural randomness, air speed, and the tree's surface, one side's wind is going to be slightly stronger when the two currents rejoin, pushing the other side's gust out of the way. The two continue to interact back-and-forth in what could be likened to an invisible wrestling match, as high-pressure airwaves and whirlpools mix together and vibrate the air. If the wind is fast enough, this phenomenon will produce the eerie noise we've all come to recognize in horror films.

Leafy trees "will absorb some of the vibrations in the air and dull the sound, but without leaves—like if it's the middle of the winter or the entire forest is dead—the howling will travel a lot farther," Green explains. That's why a dead forest on a windy night sounds so much like the undead.

Learn more by watching SciShow's video below.

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Space
SpaceX's Landing Blooper Reel Shows That Even Rocket Scientists Make Mistakes
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SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket launches.
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On March 30, 2017, SpaceX did something no space program had done before: They relaunched an orbital class rocket from Earth that had successfully achieved lift-off just a year earlier. It wasn't the first time Elon Musk's company broke new ground: In December 2015, it nailed the landing on a reusable rocket—the first time that had been done—and five months later landed a rocket on a droneship in the middle of the ocean, which was also unprecedented. These feats marked significant moments in the history of space travel, but they were just a few of the steps in the long, messy journey to achieve them. In SpaceX's new blooper reel, spotted by Ars Technica, you can see just some of the many failures the company has had along the way.

The video demonstrates that failure is an important part of the scientific process. Of course when the science you're working in deals with launching and landing rockets, failure can be a lot more dramatic than it is in a lab. SpaceX has filmed their rockets blowing up in the air, disintegrating in the ocean, and smashing against landing pads, often because of something small like a radar glitch or lack of propellant.

While explosions—or "rapid unscheduled disassemblies," as the video calls them—are never ideal, some are preferable to others. The Falcon 9 explosion that shook buildings for miles last year, for instance, ended up destroying the $200 million Facebook satellite onboard. But even costly hiccups such as that one are important to future successes. As Musk once said, "If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough."

You can watch the fiery compilation below.

[h/t Ars Technica]

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