A Surprising Number of Americans Smell Phantom Odors

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Modern life is enveloped in scents, from aromatic candles to car air fresheners to old books. But a surprising number of people are plagued by being able to smell odors that don’t really exist. The inescapable whiff of smoke, rotten eggs, or other unpleasant stenches can be a debilitating experience, and now science is beginning to have an idea of just how common it is.

A new study published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery this week and led by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) looked at the phenomenon of "phantom" odors that have no obvious source. Data collected between 2011 and 2014 was taken from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, with 7417 subjects aged 40 and over detailing their perception of phantom smells. Respondents were asked if they smelled an unpleasant, bad, or burning odor regardless of their location. Of the 7417 people polled, 534, or about 6.5 percent, reported sensing persistent smells undetected by anyone else in the vicinity.

Researchers also found a correlation between people detecting phantom smells and quality of life. Those who reported unexplained odors expressed an overall dissatisfaction with their mood and had trouble maintaining their weight. Twice as many women as men indicated they had a problem with such odors, though researchers aren't sure why.

The study also found a correlation between reports of this problem and a history of head injury, dry mouth, and overall poor health. It's possible medications used to treat chronic conditions, or environmental pollutants, could be factors, but more research needs to be done to make specific determinations.

This Course Will Teach You How to Play Guitar Like a Pro for $29

BartekSzewczyk/iStock via Getty Images
BartekSzewczyk/iStock via Getty Images

Be honest: You’ve watched a YouTube video or two in an attempt to learn how to play a song on the guitar. Whether it was through tabs or simply copying whatever you saw on the screen, the fun always ends when friends start throwing out requests for songs you have no idea how to play. So how about you actually learn how to play guitar for real this time?

It’s now possible to learn guitar from home with the Ultimate Beginner to Expert Guitar Lessons Bundle, which is currently on sale for $29. Grab that Gibson, Fender, or whatever you have handy, and learn to strum rhythms from scratch.

The strumming course will teach you how to count beats and rests to turn your hands and fingers into the perfect accompaniment for your own voice or other musicians. Then, you can take things a step further and learn advanced jamming and soloing to riff anytime, anywhere. This course will teach you to improvise across various chords and progressions so you can jump into any jam with something original. You’ll also have the chance to dive deep into the major guitar genres of bluegrass, blues, and jazz. Lessons in jam etiquette, genre history, and how to read music will separate you from a novice player.

This bundle also includes courses in ear training so you can properly identify any relative note, interval, or pitch. That way, you can play along with any song when it comes on, or even understand how to modify it into the key you’d prefer. And when the time comes to perform, be prepared with skilled hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides, bends, trills, vibrato, and fret-tapping. Not only will you learn the basic foundations of guitar, you’ll ultimately be able to develop your own style with the help of these lessons.

The Ultimate Beginner to Expert Guitar Lessons Bundle is discounted for a limited time. Act on this $29 offer now to work on those fingertip calluses and play like a pro.

 

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A Prehistoric Great White Shark Nursery Has Been Discovered in Chile

Great white sharks used prehistoric nurseries to protect their young.
Great white sharks used prehistoric nurseries to protect their young.
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Great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) may be one of the most formidable and frightening apex predators on the planet today, but life for them isn’t as easy as horror movies would suggest. Due to a slow growth rate and the fact that they produce few offspring, the species is listed as vulnerable to extinction.

There is a way these sharks ensure survival, and that is by creating nurseries—a designated place where great white shark babies (called pups) are protected from other predators. Now, researchers at the University of Vienna and colleagues have discovered these nurseries occurred in prehistoric times.

In a study published in the journal Scientific Reports, Jamie A. Villafaña from the university’s Institute of Palaeontology describes a fossilized nursery found in Coquimbo, Chile. Researchers were examining a collection of fossilized great white shark teeth between 5 and 2 million years old along the Pacific coast of Chile and Peru when they noticed a disproportionate number of young shark teeth in Coquimbo. There was also a total lack of sexually mature animals' teeth, which suggests the site was used primarily by pups and juveniles as a nursery.

Though modern great whites are known to guard their young in designated areas, the researchers say this is the first example of a paleo-nursery. Because the climate was much warmer when the paleo-nursery was in use, the researchers think these protective environments can deepen our understanding of how great white sharks can survive global warming trends.