Time to decompress from the week with a little Wired Science science news…
Popping a squishy red miracle berry into your mouth is almost like hacking your taste buds. For up to an hour, the juices coat your tongue and previously sour foods like lemon and vinegar magically taste deliciously sweet.
The berry and its plant (Richardella dulcifica) grows in West Africa. While the local population has been using its miraculous properties for centuries, it was only in 1968 that the all-important protein miraculin was extracted and sold in tablets. They’re now available the web and often feature in “taste tripping” parties where brave souls dine on pickles and limes.
However, the exact mechanism that miraculin uses on your taste receptors, allowing it to magically turn sour into sweet, has been a mystery to science for almost four decades. Until now, that is, as a team of researchers from the University of Tokyo — headed by Keiko Abe — has uncovered the miracle berry’s secrets. [read more]
If you care to keep your past in the past, Facebook’s new version of the profile, called Timeline, makes that a little more difficult.
With Timeline, every status update, wall post and photo ever posted since the day you joined Facebook becomes easily searchable to you and your friends. For many—early adopters especially—dredging up the past for all to see can be a privacy nightmare.
When your Facebook account is migrated to the new Timeline—which Facebook started rolling out Thursday—you’ll have one week to make any adjustments to your past posts and privacy settings before your Timeline will go live for everyone to see. You can publish it yourself anytime within the five-day waiting period. [read more]
ECMAScript 6, which will also provide developers with more convenience and security, is anticipated for release in 2013
You’ve probably heard of the MagicJack phone service that lets you make unlimited free calls within the US and Canada for the price of the required hardware and your internet connection. The MagicJack iPhone app lets you do the same thing from your iOS device, only you don’t have to pay for it at all. [read more]
Adobe has long dreamed of establishing Flash as a premier cross-device rich application development platform, but as the competition mounts, those hopes appear to be dwindling. This could be Adobe’s last chance.
As its annual Max developer conference approaches, Adobe has announced details of the forthcoming Flash Player 11, along with AIR 3, the latest iteration of the Adobe Integrated Runtime desktop app based on Flash technology. Among the top features of the new versions is hardware-based 2D and 3D graphics acceleration, which Adobe promises will make Flash content run “1,000 times faster.”
In addition, Adobe has hinted that the Max keynotes will unveil “a new company initiative that reimagines content authoring” and transform “the creative process across mobile devices, personal computers, and the cloud.” [read more]