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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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technology
AI Could Help Scientists Detect Earthquakes More Effectively
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Thanks in part to the rise of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, earthquakes are becoming more frequent in the U.S. Even though it doesn't fall on a fault line, Oklahoma, where gas and oil drilling activity doubled between 2010 and 2013, is now a major earthquake hot spot. As our landscape shifts (literally), our earthquake-detecting technology must evolve to keep up with it. Now, a team of researchers is changing the game with a new system that uses AI to identify seismic activity, Futurism reports.

The team, led by deep learning researcher Thibaut Perol, published the study detailing their new neural network in the journal Science Advances. Dubbed ConvNetQuake, it uses an algorithm to analyze the measurements of ground movements, a.k.a. seismograms, and determines which are small earthquakes and which are just noise. Seismic noise describes the vibrations that are almost constantly running through the ground, either due to wind, traffic, or other activity at surface level. It's sometimes hard to tell the difference between noise and legitimate quakes, which is why most detection methods focus on medium and large earthquakes instead of smaller ones.

But better understanding natural and manmade earthquakes means studying them at every level. With ConvNetQuake, that could soon become a reality. After testing the system in Oklahoma, the team reports it detected 17 times more earthquakes than what was recorded by the Oklahoma Geological Survey earthquake catalog.

That level of performance is more than just good news for seismologists studying quakes caused by humans. The technology could be built into current earthquake detection methods set up to alert the public to dangerous disasters. California alone is home to 400 seismic stations waiting for "The Big One." On a smaller scale, there's an app that uses a smartphone's accelerometers to detect tremors and alert the user directly. If earthquake detection methods could sense big earthquakes right as they were beginning using AI, that could afford people more potentially life-saving moments to prepare.

[h/t Futurism]

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New Peanut Allergy Patch Could Be Coming to Pharmacies This Year
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About 6 million people in the U.S. and Europe have severe peanut allergies, including more than 2 million children. Now, French biotechnology company DBV Technologies SA has secured an FDA review for its peanut allergy patch, Bloomberg reports.

If approved, the company aims to start selling the Viaskin patch to children afflicted with peanut allergies in the second half of 2018. The FDA's decision comes in spite of the patch's disappointing study results last year, which found the product to be less effective than DBV hoped (though it did receive high marks for safety). The FDA has also granted Viaskin breakthrough-therapy and fast-track designations, which means a faster review process.

DBV's potentially life-saving product is a small disc that is placed on the arm or between the shoulder blades. It works like a vaccine, exposing the wearer's immune system to micro-doses of peanut protein to increase tolerance. It's intended to reduce the chances of having a severe allergic reaction to accidental exposure.

The patch might have competition: Aimmune Therapeutics Inc., which specializes in food allergy treatments, and the drug company Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. are working together to develop a cure for peanut allergies.

[h/t Bloomberg]

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