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January 20, 2005

Thiols

I was just watching Mythbusters on the Discovery Channel, one of today's myths was "home skunk remedies." It turns out tomato juice works okay. More importantly, the show mentioned the "bad" smell in skunk spray is due to the "thiols" present in it. Apparently humans (and other animals) are very sensitive to the smell of thiols, and can detect it in just a few parts per billion. The problem is, I don't think I can smell thiols! They are added to natural gas so humans can detect the smell of a gas leak, but I can never smell it! In addition, I actually enjoy the smell of skunks! A Google search on "can't smell thiols" turns up nothing, so maybe I am just imagining it. Also, I once ate a bunch of hamburgers that had been inadvertently doused in lighter fluid and were inedible to several other "normal" people around at the time- they tasted perfectly alright to me! So maybe my smeller just don't work so good in general.