Optional introductory content here.
- QUERIES YOU CAN MAKE ON FACEBOOK’S NEW GRAPH SEARCH
- SUPERTASTER TEST
- LOCKING THE CARTS
So…these people exist:
(It’s possible that no one will show up for the queries with the word “friends” since it depends on which Facebook account you’re using. If that’s the case, you apparently don’t have as weird of friends as I do.)
So, a few posts back, I discussed supertasters. Basically, they have genes that allow their tastebuds to pick up on more flavor. They make up about 25% of the U.S. population. But another 25% of the population is made up of non-tasters who taste far less flavor than most people. The other 50% are just tasters.
So, I ordered some tests off the internet. They’re these small paper strips coated in a chemical known as PTC. You place them on your tongue, and if you taste an extremely bitter disgusting taste, you’re a supertaster. If it just tastes kind of bitter, you’re a taster, and if you don’t taste anything, you’re a non-taster. I received five strips.
Test Subject #1: Phillip Repsher
Likes: Pizza pockets, Hot Dogs with Cholula, Whiskey, Jolly ranchers, and Other Garbage.
Dislikes: Vegetables, Spicy Foods, Coffee, and Generally Healthy Foods.
Hypothesis: We all guessed Phil would be a non-taster because he eats such shitty food.
Data: He put the strip in his mouth and tasted and immediate and overwhelming taste of bitterness. He then took it out in disgust, and said it tasted awful.
Unbelievably, Phil is a supertaster!
Test Subject #2: Adrienne Teeley
Likes: Cookies, Kale Muffins, Macaroni and Cheese, and Shredded Wheat.
Dislikes: Tomatoes, The Type of Cream Cheese that Comes Out of a Small Tub, Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwiches, and Rum. She is generally a picky eater.
Hypothesis: Since Adrienne is such a picky eater, we assumed she’d also be a supertaster.
Data: She put the strip on her tongue, let it sit for a second, and then confirmed a somewhat bitter taste.
Adrienne is just a regular taster.
Test Subject #3: Tyler Sanders
Likes: Milk, Bagels and Cream Cheese, Pizza, Jambalaya, Guacamole, and Lone Star.
Dislikes: All seafood, Olives, and Mushrooms. I don’t think I’m a very picky eater. The seafood thing can be blamed on my three days of throwing up after eating fish in Cambodia.
Hypothesis: I guessed I was a non-taster because I just feel like I can’t taste things that well.
Data: I put the strip on my tongue, let it sit, let it sit some more, but I didn’t taste anything. It felt like I just put paper in my mouth. I took it out, and a few seconds later I got a very very faint hint of bitterness.
My hypothesis is correct, I’m a non-taster.
Some folks are supertasters, some are tasters, and some are non-tasters. We have all three in a single household. Many sites and articles about supertasters and non-tasters explain what they like and dislike, but we didn’t find these to be consistent with what we like and dislike to eat. I guess it’s really just a matter of taste.
INTRODUCTION: In a DATA post from last month, I provided a link to a website that claimed to have a downloadable mp3 of a noise that could lock up shopping carts. That website has been taken down in the time since my last post. However, it explained that many stores have systems to prevent cart theft, and that a commonly used system was to transmit a frequency to carts that had been pushed a certain distance from the store, causing them to lock up. The mp3 was supposedly that frequency.
HYPOTHESIS: If I play lockthecart.mp3 from my phone within one foot of a shopping cart wheel, then the wheel will stop moving, causing the cart to lock up.
PROCEDURE: I downloaded the mp3 onto my phone and played it next to the carts of two big-box stores and a grocery store.
My first attempt to lock a cart was in a WAL-MART parking lot. I know what your thinking, and yes, a WAL-MART parking lot is an extremely dangerous place to go. However, my dedication to the entertainment of my readers surpasses that of my own safety. I got out of my car, went up to that one space where the carts are always having an orgy, and hit the play button on my phone.
I didn’t hear any of the carts make a noise, but maybe the lock is silent? I tried moving one in the back of the orgy, and it withdrew. The mp3 did not work at WAL-MART.
This is a supermarket in St. Pete Beach, Florida. I went to it when I was visiting my wonderful and fun-loving mother who lives there. I had especially high hopes for this place because there was a sign on the edge of the parking lot that read, “Carts will lock up past this line.” Or something like that.
I got a look at the carts. Sure enough, they each had locking mechanisms on one of their front wheels. So, I knelt down to one of them, and hit play.
“Maybe this place uses a different system,” I thought. Maybe these carts detect the color of the line on the edge of the parking lot, and that’s how they lock up.
That’s kind of how Duck Hunt and Legos: Mindstorms work anyway…
My last target was…Target. If this place didn’t work, I was going to give up. This Target was built in the last two years and sports shiny red plastic shopping carts. I figured if any place has carts with such technology, it would be these modern looking buggies.
Walking through the parking lot, I pulled up the mp3 on my phone to hear the volume level. I didn’t know if maybe some mayhem-seeking teenagers had tried this before, so I didn’t want Target’s security guards to hear or see what I was doing. So, I put my phone’s volume on a low level.
I was walking into the store, cart in one hand, phone in the other, and about to hit the play button, but what if it actually worked? The cart would just freeze up, and I would stumble into it in front of the security guard and the other customers. Better, I thought to just stand still, try it, and then try moving the cart. So, I stopped, hit play, and I could very faintly make out the mp3′s extremely annoying noise.
I tried pushing the cart. It moved.
Maybe it needed to be louder….but where could I go where no one would hear it? The pillow aisle.
So, I mosey on over the the bedding department and find the pillow aisle. Unfortunately, two pillow-seeking San Antonians are trying to find the fluffiest one. So, I circled the aisle with my cart and phone until they either found one or gave up. I put my phone on half volume and tried it a second time.
Again, no luck.
So then, in an extremely ballsy maneuver, I pumped up the volume all the way, got down on my knees and tried it again.
CONCLUSION: I don’t think the mp3 works. I think it’s a hoax. It didn’t work on any of the carts I tried, and I know at least one of them had a locking system in place. Moreover, if you think about the website’s explanation, it makes no sense. It said if the cart gets a certain distance from a store, it receives that signal. But how would whatever emits the signal know the cart was that far from the store? The cart would have to first communicate its distance to the thing that emits the signal. And if it could do that, why wouldn’t it just lock itself up?
However, it’s also possible that the signal is just constantly played on the edges of the parking lot. In this case, maybe I had the wrong signal. Or maybe my phone was incapable of producing the correct frequency.
But the most likely scenario is that the mp3′s creator is just fucking with everybody.
So, if you’re planning on trying to lock up a shopping cart, just try pushing it out of the parking lot. And if it that doesn’t work, then congratulations you got a free cart and are now one step closer to imitating your favorite homeless person.