Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Eau d'Antoinette

The Chateau of Versailles recently released a limited edition of the scent worn by Marie Antoinette.

A modern perfumer recreated the scent from detailed notes recorded by one of the perfumers that created scents for Marie Antoinette. Although Mademoiselle Antoinette was a "trend setter" according to one of the perfumers in a story on National Public Radio because she bathed every day, much of her court did not, so perfume was a good way to relive the nose of the distasteful odors. But the way that perfumers created Marie's aroma back in the 1700s is a little different than the way perfumes are made today.

Some components of modern perfume are synthetic. Back then they were not, so a scent like rose smells a little waxier, explains Francis Kurkdjian, the perfumer who reincarnated the fragrance. Also, the flowers used in perfume before Marie was beheaded during the French Revolution were boiled altogether, whereas now they are boiled individually before being added to the mix.

The Versailles perfume experiment was not only an experiment in chemistry, but also in history. So, while we are eating cake we might also be able to smell the complex scents of pre-revolution France.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Smart Kids Eat Their Veggies

Even though most kids tell stories about hiding their Brussel sprouts in their napkins, the smartest ones often end up vegetarians.

According to a new study published in the British Medical Journal, kids with high IQs reported that they are vegetarians in adulthood.

In the study, researchers took the IQs of more than 8,000 kids who were 10 years old. Twenty years later, the researchers polled the study group to see how many reported that they were vegetarians. They found that 4.5 percent were vegetarians, and over 30 percent were vegetarians who ate fish or or chicken.

I must admit that I am in the category of vegetarians who eat fish, which many people don't consider to be a "true" form of veggie. While I agree (to a certain extent), the study showed that there was no difference in IQ between kids who turned out to be vegetarians and those who are now pesce vegetarians, as we are called, or chicken eating vegetarians. I also must admit that I know plenty of people who eat meat and are quite intelligent as well.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Drilling Decision

Last weekend, as Friday night turned to Saturday morning, the Senate voted to allow offshore drilling on over eight million acres in the eastern part of the Gulf of Mexico.

The royalties will go to the states surrounding the gulf--Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas--so that they can invest in "coastal restoration and hurricane recovery," according to an article in the Mobile Press-Register.

In that area, experts estimate that there is enough gas to heat six million homes for 15 years, but that could be at the expense of the surrounding habitat. Opening up that area so that we can continue to feed our hunger for energy might result in oil spills and disrupted coastal ecosystems. Let's just hope that one of the worst consequences of a gulf coast spotted with rigs is an uglier horizon.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Vicky's Catalogues

Two days after Victoria's Secret's annual fashion show aired on television, the company announced that it would stop using paper made from trees in threatened caribou habitat for its catalogues.

Every year, the company mails out 350 million catalogues, published by Limited Brands. For years environmental groups, like Forest Ethics tried to convince Limited Brands to change its paper sources.

Now the company, which is also the parent company of Bath & Body Works, Henri Bendel, and Express, says that at least 10 percent of the paper it uses for catalogues will come from companies using sustainable practices that are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, or from recycled products.

Not only did Limited Brands help Victoria's Secret reveal its lingerie this week, it helped exposed the company as a budding, environmentally conscious company.