Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Retirement Activities - Reasons to Watch More TV

As if I didn’t already watch too much TV, tonight’s news gives me two more reasons to become a couch potato.

The first is my own logical extension of a study published in the Journal of Public Economics. It shows that more people die within a few days of when they get paid than at any other time. Note that getting paid includes receiving Social Security checks and tax refunds, so this applies to retirees as well as those still gainfully employed.

The author’s assumption is that people go out to spend some of that money, making them more prone to auto accidents or other misadventures, the result of engaging in risky business of one sort or another.

My monthly payments get auto-deposited, but just to be safe, I’m going to make it a point to stay home and watch TV during those high-risk days. This should improve my odds of avoiding payday demise.

The other piece of news was an update on technology that will enable TVs to emit specific aromas. This capability has been around for awhile, but apparently not in a refined enough way to make it commercially viable. As with most things, give them enough time, and they’ll figure it out.

“They” in this case is the team of Samsung and the University of California San Diego, who have developed a device that can deliver 10,000 distinct aromas. These are chemically created, of course, but then so are most of the fragrances in our soaps and other health and beauty aids. (You didn’t honestly think that purplish goo was made from real lavender, did you?)

The TV device works via a matrix of 100 X 100 little cells. (Yet another practical application for an Excel spreadsheet…) Each cell contains a minute solution that, when heated, turns to gas. That gas delivers the specific smell. I assume these can also be combined, much the way a fragrance house mixes scents, especially since it was tested using perfumes that carry the names of two celebrities. Test subjects could tell the difference from 10 feet away.

Attach this little sucker to your TV set and the next thing you know, you’re smelling the garlic in that garlic and citrus chicken dish Giada de Laurentiis is cooking up. Or maybe it will be her perfume. I’ll bet she smells fabulous. She certainly looks great. (Are you guys out there drooling over the chicken or the eggplants?)

The latest developments in this technology were reported in a paper published in Angewandte Chemie, the journal of the German Chemical Society. I love the name of this journal almost as much as I love the name Pipilotti Rist, the Swiss artist I mentioned in my post on the Venice Biennale earlier this month.

Yes, dear readers, the day when TV advertisers will manipulate us through our noses and not just our eyes will soon be upon us. We may as well embrace the new technology. At least it will keep us off the highway and away from all those high-risk behaviors we all crave the minute our Social Security payments hit the bank. Thank you and zum wohl, Samsung, UCSD and Angewandte Chemie. I raise my glass to all of you. And by the way, can you please set the cell E6 to have the aroma of a fine Barolo?


ron larsen said...

Enlightening and funny too, very much enjoyed this Elaine.Love barolo , and Giada got me started cooking but that was secondary to just watching her.

Treat Me Fairly said...

I'm thinking of some scenes where this technology could be pretty awful!