What’s Your Name?

Errol Morris goes through the meanings and assumptions we attach to names:

On the other hand, the name did matter to Clark. He had changed his name from “Gerhartsreiter” to “Rockefeller.” And the new name opened doors. He met Sandra L. Boss, a student at Harvard Business School. It was at a “Clue Party” that he had organized in Manhattan. She came as Miss Scarlett. He was Professor Plum. Clearly, role-playing and a multiplicity of names entered their relationship from the very beginning. The Globe article reports her saying: “He saw me across the room and was immediately smitten.” They married. Seven years later a child was born — Reigh. As Clark told The Globe, “I had never thought of becoming a father and all of a sudden this little bundle came along… And it made a huge impact on me. It was a life-changing experience.” He was a stay-at-home father, and taught Reigh to read at the age of 2. “I started her on Alfred Lord Tennyson … And we spent hours and hours reading ‘The Daisy.’”

Manufacturing Flavor

Fascinating look into how flavor is manufactured:

Natural flavors and artificial flavors sometimes contain exactly the same chemicals, produced through different methods. Amyl acetate, for example, provides the dominant note of banana flavor. When it is distilled from bananas with a solvent, amyl acetate is a natural flavor. When it is produced by mixing vinegar with amyl alcohol and adding sulfuric acid as a catalyst, amyl acetate is an artificial flavor. Either way it smells and tastes the same. “Natural flavor” is now listed among the ingredients of everything from Health Valley Blueberry Granola Bars to Taco Bell Hot Taco Sauce.

Given a previous post describing how many people prefer the artificial flavor to the real one they’re trying to mimic, maybe companies should start advertising the chemical formulas instead?