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This Perfume is Activated by Sweat

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Athletes, the air conditioning-deprived, and anyone with a low tolerance for heat, wipe your brow and take heart: Researchers have created a new fragrance that actually smells better the more you sweat. 

This ingenious new perfume comes from Nimal Gunaratne and his team at the Queen’s University Ionic Liquid Laboratories in Belfast. Here’s how it works: A pleasant fragrance in its raw form is chemically attached to odorless liquid salt. The moment a drop of water (or perspiration) hits this fragrance-infused substance, the perfume comes to life. More perspiration releases more perfume onto the skin. 

In addition to working with your sweat, the fragrance also works to eradicate the bad smell all together by attacking the “thiol” compounds that create bad body odor. So you can sweat without feeling self-conscious, and don’t have to worry about lifting your arm above shoulder level in public.  

"Not only does it have great commercial potential, and could be used in perfumes and cosmetic creams, but it could also be used in others area of science, such as the slow release of certain substances of interest,” says Gunaratne. 

No word yet on what, exactly, this perfume will smell like. Ideally it’s something that could be worked into already-existing fragrances and products. The researchers are reportedly in talks with a perfume development company in an effort to get the sweat-activated perfume into stores. 

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History
The Queen of Code: Remembering Grace Hopper
By Lynn Gilbert, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Grace Hopper was a computing pioneer. She coined the term "computer bug" after finding a moth stuck inside Harvard's Mark II computer in 1947 (which in turn led to the term "debug," meaning solving problems in computer code). She did the foundational work that led to the COBOL programming language, used in mission-critical computing systems for decades (including today). She worked in World War II using very early computers to help end the war. When she retired from the U.S. Navy at age 79, she was the oldest active-duty commissioned officer in the service. Hopper, who was born on this day in 1906, is a hero of computing and a brilliant role model, but not many people know her story.

In this short documentary from FiveThirtyEight, directed by Gillian Jacobs, we learned about Grace Hopper from several biographers, archival photographs, and footage of her speaking in her later years. If you've never heard of Grace Hopper, or you're even vaguely interested in the history of computing or women in computing, this is a must-watch:

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science
Why Are Glaciers Blue?
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The bright azure blue sported by many glaciers is one of nature's most stunning hues. But how does it happen, when the snow we see is usually white? As Joe Hanson of It's Okay to Be Smart explains in the video below, the snow and ice we see mostly looks white, cloudy, or clear because all of the visible light striking its surface is reflected back to us. But glaciers have a totally different structure—their many layers of tightly compressed snow means light has to travel much further, and is scattered many times throughout the depths. As the light bounces around, the light at the red and yellow end of the spectrum gets absorbed thanks to the vibrations of the water molecules inside the ice, leaving only blue and green light behind. For the details of exactly why that happens, check out Hanson's trip to Alaska's beautiful (and endangered) Mendenhall Glacier below.

[h/t The Kid Should See This]

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