14 Stories

Mystery Odor Causes City to Order People Inside

Vallejo, California, later lifts order, but cause of smell still a mystery

(Newser) - It smelled so bad in Vallejo, California, overnight that the city ordered people to stay inside. The shelter-in-place order has since been lifted, but the cause of the nasty odor is still a mystery, reports the San Francisco Chronicle . For now, the best bet is that it comes from an... More »

Guy Invents the 'World's Worst Smell'

It smells like 'butt crack…with a hint of dead animal'

(Newser) - Imagine the worst smell you can think of. Now imagine the scent of "butt crack…with a hint of dead animal." That's how Allen Wittman, 45, describes his creation, Liquid ASS —a smelly spray initially intended to be used in pranks. "We package Liquid ASS... More »

City Can't Figure Out Why It Smells Like Cat Pee

Readings show no health risk in New Castle, Penn.

(Newser) - You may think your town figuratively stinks; for residents of New Castle, Penn., the sentiment is literal. Environmental Protection agents in the city can't seem to figure out why there's a lingering odor of ... cat pee. Residents first noticed the smell Nov. 1 and it still hangs around... More »

Lawsuit Demands San Diego Clean Up Sea Lion Poop

Citizens For Odor Nuisance Abatement are tired of the 'noxious' odor

(Newser) - San Diego's La Jolla neighborhood is a great place to watch sea lions bask in the sun while birds circle overhead. You might even run into Mitt Romney . But there's also a not-so-pleasant scent wafting through the air thanks to all the sea lion and bird poop at... More »

Huge Swath of France Smells Like Rotten Eggs

No, not permanently

(Newser) - Insert Pepé Le Pew joke here: The northwestern part of France currently smells like rotten eggs, reports Reuters . The bizarre aroma is the result of a non-lethal leak of the gas Mercaptan at a chemicals factory about 75 miles northwest of Paris. Though the leak occurred yesterday, winds carried the... More »

Californians Wonder: What's That Stench?

Smell of fish die-off may have traveled 150 miles

(Newser) - Something is rotten in the state of California: A smell like rotten eggs spread across a huge area of Southern California yesterday, prompting hundreds of 911 calls and complaints to air quality authorities, reports the LA Times . Officials initially thought a toxic spill or sewage leak could be to blame,... More »

Revealed: What Space Smells Like

In two words, not good

(Newser) - Outer space may be soundless, but it's apparently not odorless. Life's Little Mysteries recently stumbled upon a 2009 interview with a NASA astronaut that's too good to not resurrect. In it, Kevin Ford spoke of picking up the weird odor while undertaking spacewalks. It's not something... More »

New Matchmaking Trend: Stinky T-Shirts

Singles try to sniff out partners at 'pheromone parties'

(Newser) - Sniff your way to love? Singles who have attended so-called pheromone parties haven't ruled it out. The get-togethers—which have been held in New York and Los Angeles and are planned for other cities—ask guests to submit a slept-in T-shirt that will be smelled by other participants. Then,... More »

TSA Agents Hospitalized by Noxious Bag

15 sickened by bag emitting strange odor

(Newser) - Fifteen Transportation Safety Administration workers were sickened and four sent to the hospital today, after coming into contact with a noxious odor wafting out of an open bag in a bag room. The workers complained of headaches and eye and throat irritation, the Boston Globe reports. No passengers were exposed... More »

Oil Spill Sends Foul Smell to New Orleans

Strong winds complicating cleanup efforts

(Newser) - The oil spill oozing ashore in Louisiana is making life miserable for residents of New Orleans because of the stench. Complaints are jamming city phone lines, and officials say they can only assume the odor is coming from the Gulf, reports the Times-Picayune . Andrew Sullivan, meanwhile, posts this from a... More »

DNA Results Shed Little Light on Caylee Case

Labs see evidence of 'decompositional event' in chloroform-soaked car trunk

(Newser) - No positive identification of Caylee Anthony’s body could be made from DNA analysis of evidence gathered from her mother’s car trunk, the Orlando Sentinel reports today. However, investigators found “an unusually large concentration of chloroform.” Odor analysis yielded hints of a “decompositional event that could... More »

Chemists Sniff Out Household Stinks

Smell squad recreates odors to wipe them out

(Newser) - Chemists are trying to replicate the odors of stale smoke and rotting garbage in a quest to make America a better-smelling place, the Wall Street Journal reports. A specialist squad working for the International Flavors and Fragrances company captures common bad household smells, brings them back to the lab, and... More »

Stench is in Nose of Beholder

Body odor perceived differently based on genetics, study shows

(Newser) - Good news for men with a nasty smell wafting under their arms: Scientists can prove why it's not so bad to everyone. A report published in Nature says that male sweat can invoke scents from urine to vanilla, thanks to tiny differences in a single receptor gene. How it reacts... More »

Are We Finally Ready for 'Smellovision'?

One Boston artist smells a comeback for funky technology

(Newser) - An olfactory entrepreneur is trying to revive "Smellovision"—the Edsel-era technology that pipes appropriate scents to movie audiences. Megan Dickerson has been showing "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory" in an open-air theater outside the Boston Children's Museum, complete with the odors of blueberries and banana taffy.... More »

14 Stories