Jon Batiste, Gail Simmons, and Strange Smells: TMSIDK Episode 33

Listen now:

If humans were willing to get intimately close to luggage, we’d be as good at bomb sniffing as dogs are. (Photo: Pixabay)

We use dogs — not humans — to sniff for bombs and to track scent trails, so the canine sense of smell must exceed ours, right? Actually, the human nose can rival that of dogs. It might take some training, and the courage to get close to the thing we’re smelling, but we can become super sniffers. One study found that humans are able to follow the scent of chocolate about as well as dogs follow the scent of a pheasant. A more utilitarian example: nurse Joy Milne can tell if patients have Parkinson’s disease by the smell of their sweat.

Things we learn this week: dogs aren’t so great at sniffing, men aren’t so lazy, and New York doesn’t smell so bad (anymore). Gail Simmons (Top Chef) is co-host; Jon Batiste plays his melodica for us; the live fact-checker is Mike Maughan.