A new iPhone app, linked with a refractometer and decades of coffee science, can help you brew the perfect cup, for only $350. Don’t believe that such a thing is possible? Gizmodo sums up the natural inclination against believing that science can tell us what tastes best:
People accept scientific measurements as the truth about a lot of things. Mass. The temperature at which water freezes. The size of the earth. But it’s hard to swallow the idea of scientifically measuring how something tastes. Taste is subjective. Right? Not anymore—thanks to MoJo, a gadget that quantifies a cup of coffee’s flavor.
Hallucinating isn’t all that uncommon: A whopping 10 percent of people claim to hear voices in their lifetime (though it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re crazy). And while caffeine can cause a range of ailments including bone loss and a rise in blood pressure—and is accused of causing plenty more— hallucinations have remained safely off the list.
Until now, that is. Supposedly, a team of psychologists from Durham University in the U.K. have found that big-time coffee drinkers are three times more likely to suffer hallucinations. The researchers wanted to assess how an excess amount of caffeine affects a healthy population, so they asked 200 non-smoking students about their daily caffeine intake, including anything from coffee to tea to energy drinks to chocolate to caffeine pills.
After probing each person for their caffeine habits, the researchers assessed the students to determine their stress levels as well as how likely they were to hallucinate. A small number (the exact number wasn’t released, but it was small) of the subjects claimed they could see things that weren’t there, hear voices when no one was around, or even “sense the dead.”
Female coffee drinkers beware: that Pumpkin Spice Latte might shrink your breasts. Or so you would think, if you scanned the headlines last week. A new study in the British Journal of Cancer [subscription required] has incited mass hysteria over a tenuous link between coffee intake and breast size. The Telegraph warns: “Drinking Too Much Coffee Could Shrink Women’s Breasts,” while UPI throws in a pun: “Study: Cups of Java Cut Cup Size.” But the best comes from the New York Post: “Women Face Drink & Shrink Dilemma, Coffee Poses a Booby Trap.”
But before you pour that cup of coffee down the sink (or “accidentally” spill it on your busty archnemesis) let’s take a closer look at that study:
Researchers from Sweden recruited 269 women (average age was 29) to have their breast size measured and to answer a questionnaire about coffee intake and other lifestyle choices. All the women were from families at high risk for breast cancer and about half carried a gene, CYP1A2*1F, that is associated with breast cancer. Essentially, the researchers were studying the relationship between CYP1A2*1F, breast size, and coffee intake. The gene is known to control the metabolism of the hormone estrogen as well as certain chemicals found in coffee; it’s also been linked to higher breast density and thus higher breast cancer risk.
This is what they found: