The Scientific Reason Bloody Marys Taste Better on Airplanes

iStock
iStock

If you’re not sure what to pair with that B-movie the next time you’re cruising at 30,000 feet, science suggests you try a Bloody Mary—and not just because it will make the plot of Taken 3 seem more plausible.

According to a group of Cornell-based researchers, tomato juice tastes better up in the air. The reason: the noise level on an airplane influences our perceptions of taste. In a study published recently in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 48 participants sampled a range of tomato juices—some were sweeter, while some were more salty or bitter. During the session, the noise level was steadily increased and participants were asked to rate the intensity of each flavor. The noisier the environment, the more difficulty people had detecting sweet flavors. Savory flavors, however—including tomatoes’ earthy “umami” taste—were easier to pick up.

This isn’t exactly news to airlines. Last year, a Lufthansa executive reported that they sell as much tomato juice as they do beer on flights. The company ordered a study of their own, which determined that the air pressure and humidity levels on planes make bolder drinks and foods more appealing.

There you go: official permission to spice up your next flight. Thanks, science!

[h/t: Esquire

10 Things You Can Lift Instead of Dumbbells at Home

This Corgi puppy is the cuddliest dumbbell we ever did see.
This Corgi puppy is the cuddliest dumbbell we ever did see.
Tatomm/iStock via Getty Images

Right now, the prospect of handling dumbbells that have been touched by any number of strangers in your neighborhood gym might not seem very appealing—that is, if your gym is still open. For those of you who don’t want to buy your own dumbbells (or simply can’t find a store that has them in stock), we’re here to help you make do with what you might already have at home.

A six-pack of 12-ounce cans of beer weighs about 5 pounds, which is perfect for novice lifters who love to crack open a cold one as a reward for working out. Other options for people who usually reach for 5-pound dumbbells include a full ream of printer paper, a bag of all-purpose flour, and a regular red brick.

Seasoned bench-pressers without an at-home gym set up in their garage might still find some useful equipment in there—a spare tire, for example, weighs about 25 pounds. And it’ll take you more than a little muscle to do a few reps with your treasured collection of hardcover Harry Potter books, which weighs 20 pounds. Speaking of books, the third edition of the Oxford American Dictionary comes in around 7 pounds, but you can always stack it with some other heavy volumes to hit your ideal lifting weight.

Pets can help you reach your exercise goals, too, if they have the right temperament. Your cat probably weighs around 10 pounds, and a grown male golden retriever is likely between 65 and 75 pounds. Are you wondering if this is a good excuse to adopt a pet? The answer is yes.

See our top 10 makeshift dumbbells below, and pick out a movie to watch while you lift here.

  1. A standard-sized brick // 4.2 pounds
  1. A six-pack of canned beer // 5 pounds
  1. A ream of printer paper // 5 pounds
  1. A bag of all-purpose flour // 5 pounds
  1. The Oxford American Dictionary, Third Edition // 7 pounds
  1. A gallon of milk // 8.6 pounds
  1. A cat // 10 pounds
  1. A bag of dry dog food // 15 pounds
  1. A hardcover box set of Harry Potter books // 20 pounds
  1. A new car tire // 25 pounds

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.

Pick Up a New Hobby With This Beer Brewing Kit

Brewferm's beer-making kit comes with all of the important ingredients you'll need to make a Belgian-inspired saison.
Brewferm's beer-making kit comes with all of the important ingredients you'll need to make a Belgian-inspired saison.
Brewferm/Amazon

Sure, you could turn to a craft brewery when you want to sample one-of-a-kind beers with unique flavors—or you could learn to make your own. With this $100 starter kit from Brewferm, you can brew and bottle up to 15 liters of premium Belgian beer in your own home.

The kit comes with clear, simple instructions for getting started, and it includes everything you need—save for water, sugar, and reusable bottles (although you can buy those from Brewferm for an additional $70). Brewferm’s starter kit comes with a Belgian saison beer mix—a pale farmhouse ale with a fruity flavor—and they also sell mixes for more exotic beers, like an imperial stout and a Belgian IPA. Each beer mix includes ingredients like hop extract, barley malt, and yeast, and every kit comes with a guide that takes you through the entire process, including how to keep the whole operation sanitary for the best brew possible.

Each type of beer takes about a minimum of two months to fully ferment and mature. It’s a lengthy process, but an impressive hobby—and a crowd-pleaser for any friends you want to entertain. Want to learn more about homebrewing? Check out this list of interesting facts you might not know.

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.

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