May 5, 2014

Bloody Marys could possibly hold the title as the only appetizing item on an airplane, if researchers in London are correct about certain flavors being enhanced and diminished during specific conditions — such as being thousands of feet in the air, in close proximity to loud engines.

Barry Smith, founder of the Center for the Study of the Senses at the University of London, and his colleagues believe that the tomato-based drink is heavy on the umami (a flavor, the Los Angeles Times reports, that often goes hand in hand with meats, cheese, and vegetables), and thus tastes better in the air than most other items. Researchers have thought for a very long time now that loud noises interfere with the ability to taste the flavor of food, which is why airline meals often don't taste that great, Smith and his team report in the journal Flavour. It's possible that umami is not affected by noise or low air pressure, making Bloody Marys a popular onboard choice.

In Flavour, Smith and his collaborators say that they would like to see a scientific study conducted that gives test subjects foods rich in umami while in different situations, including on an airplane, listening to noise-canceling headphones. They're hoping that after collecting the data, the umami question will finally be answered once and for all. Catherine Garcia

last night on late night
4:35 a.m. ET

"We're just two days from Thanksgiving, and I just want to take this time to mention something I'm thankful for: Donald Trump," Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show. Why? "Because he gives all of us on TV something to talk about." On Tuesday's show, he wanted to talk about Trump's widely discounted claim that Muslims in New Jersey cheered the fall of the Twin Towers on 9/11, and Trump's recent claim to be able to foretell terrorist threats. After playing clips of Trump boasting how he predicted Osama bin Laden was dangerous in a 2000 book, Colbert noted bin Laden's long history of proving that he was dangerous dating back to at least 1993.

"That's spooky — it's like Trump has some kind of fifth sense that lets him see what's in newspapers and on TVs," Colbert said. Well, "NostraDonald is not the only one with this power," he added, launching an elaborate "attempt to predict the predictable." Colbert says there will be an iPhone 7 next year, for example, and a short-lived frozen yogurt shop in your neighborhood. The fortune in his fortune cookie, though, seemed like a shot at his audience: "Crowds will be easy to pander to, especially here in New York City, the greatest city in the world." Well, people do like hearing about Donald Trump. Watch below. Peter Weber

3:58 a.m. ET

The Netflix series Jessica Jones debuted on Netflix last Friday night, and if you're not familiar with one of Marvel's darker superheroes, star Krysten Ritter was on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Tuesday to explain her character's superpowers (she's really strong and can fly, sort of) and why it's not exactly your typical family-friendly superhero fare. (There's a lot of sex and violence, Jimmy Kimmel noted, often).

In the interview portion below, Ritter and Kimmel discuss the rules for spoilers on Netflix series, where you can watch all the episodes at once. Ritter said that it would be better to give people a little more time before ruining plot developments, then mentioned that her mother has already watched the entire first season. In fact, she did it in the first 24 hours. Her mom watched the first five episodes Friday night, then continued Saturday — "she's watching it on her phone while her oil's being changed," Ritter recounted. And what about the sex and dark pallor? "She was fine with it," Ritter said, "though she did have to watch Don't Trust the Bee as a palate-cleanser." Watch below, and be warned: Even though Ritter says she hates spoilers, she drops a few for Homeland and Breaking Bad. Peter Weber

Watch this
3:11 a.m. ET

If you're wondering how Jimmy Kimmel Live got to air the first trailer for Captain America: Civil War, it helps to remember that both the Avengers movie franchise and ABC are part of the Disney universe. In this new clip, Captain America (Chris Evans) has to choose between his evidently most-wanted friend Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) and his Avengers allies, especially Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and War Machine (Don Cheadle). The whole gang is there, and it looks like it gets ugly. "Sometimes I want to punch you in your perfect teeth," Downey's Tony Stark tells Cap, and by the end of the trailer, he gets his chance. Wired has a more detailed breakdown of the trailer, but you can also just watch below. Peter Weber

By the numbers
2:38 a.m. ET

The U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State sends off two bombing sorties every hour, and has for more than 450 days. That can be hard to visualize, so BBC News added an audio component in this fascinating look at how the anti-ISIS bombing campaign compares with previous wars. If two bombing raids an hour "sounds relentless," says the BBC's Neal Razzell, "listen to what Serbia faced during the 1999 NATO bombing campaign," or Iraq faced in the 2003 U.S. invasion. All of those pale to the number of bombs the U.S. alone dropped each hour during World War II — though it should be noted that bombs before 1945 were generally neither as precise nor as powerful as the ones being deployed against ISIS, and WWII was fought on a much larger stage. Still, the comparison is eye-opening as the world tries to figure out the best way to defeat ISIS. Watch below. Peter Weber

Late Night Antics
2:13 a.m. ET

Can't keep track of what Donald Trump has been up to this week? Seth Meyers is here to help you catch up, with his Late Night segment "A Closer Look." Meyers breaks down the Republican presidential candidate's claims that he saw American Muslims cheering in New Jersey following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks; his inability to understand how television works; and his retweeting of a chart with incorrect data on crime statistics. "The source of this was the Crime Statistics Bureau San Francisco, which it turns out isn't a real thing," Meyers said. "It doesn't exist. It's one of those names that sounds less like a government agency and more like a police drama on CBS." Watch the clip below. Catherine Garcia

Voting Rights
1:45 a.m. ET
Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

On Tuesday, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) issued an executive order granting voting rights to about 140,000 nonviolent felons who have completed their sentences. "Once an individual has served his or her time and paid all restitution, society expects them to reintegrate into their communities and become law-abiding and productive citizens," Beshear said at a news conference. "A key part of that transition is the right to vote."

Beshear noted that Governor-elect Matt Bevin (R) or some future governor can reverse his order, and urged the state legislature to amend the state constitution. Bevin has been supportive of restoring some felon voting rights, but his transition team said it had no prior warning of Beshear's order and needs to study it. Kentucky was one of three states, along with Iowa and Florida, where felons were barred from voting for life unless they received a special exemption from the governor. These restrictions disproportionately affect African-Americans, and in Kentucky, more than 22 percent of black voters are disenfranchised, three times the national average and among the highest rates in the nation, according state Sen. Gerald Neal (D).

Beshear's order automatically restores voting rights for newly released felons who were not convicted of violent or sex crimes, bribery, or treason. Felons already out of prison will have to fill out a form available online or at parole and probation offices. Eligible felons will also get back the right to hold public office but not possess a firearm and are not pardoned of their crimes.

"This disenfranchisement makes no sense," Beshear said. "It makes no sense because it dilutes the energy of democracy, which functions only if all classes and categories of people have a voice, not just a privileged, powerful few. It makes no sense because it defeats a primary goal of our corrections system, which is to rehabilitate those who have committed crimes." Peter Weber

what a gift
1:22 a.m. ET
Ty Wright/Getty Images

Donald Trump revealed on Tuesday he has a secret weapon when it comes to national security: He has the ability to foresee all kinds of terrible things way before they happen.

"Another thing I predicted is terrorism," the Republican presidential candidate said during an event in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. "Because I can feel it. My father always used to say... everything you touch just turns to gold, and he's got a great sense of location and business and things." The modern-day Nostradamus said that before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, he predicted the rising threat of Osama bin Laden in a book, The Washington Post reports. If someone had actually read that book, he believes the World Trade Center would never have been hit. "I saw he was making trouble," Trump said. "He had a big mouth, and he was talking. Not that I know, but I watch, and I see, and I wrote.... That's what it's about: It's about vision, folks.... If we took him out, we would have two beautiful buildings standing there instead of one okay building, all right?"

He reiterated other familiar talking points, including his new claim that he saw American Muslims cheering in New Jersey after the attacks. He insisted there is coverage of the celebrations but the "liberal media" is hiding the evidence, and said he's received "hundreds of phone calls" from people saying they too saw people cheering. Trump also brought onstage a man in the audience dressed like him, saying, "This is what I call a real supporter." Speaking to the man's wife, Trump then asked: "Are you happy with your husband? She said yes! She fantasizes that he's really the real Donald Trump." If Trump predicted that comment would make everyone uncomfortable, he'd be right. Catherine Garcia

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