Soroudi Taste Effect


My mother didn’t have any formal culinary education, she just had a massive love of food. When she was little, she was ravenous and would inhale food with verve and pay attention to what it was and try to reverse-engineer the recipe in her mind. Once she had children, she had to cook, so she did. Boy did she ever. She constantly experimented in the kitchen and devoured all the cook-books and cooking-shows she could. She made dishes and baked-goods fit for a king, no, too good for a king.


After she was gone, I had to make my own food. I’ve cooked before, but I now had to make everything myself. This is when I discovered a phenomenon about food. Nothing I made was good, I just didn’t enjoy anything. Well, not zero, but very little. It didn’t matter how great the food look or how good it tasted, I just didn’t enjoy the foods I made.

Attempted explanations

It might have been anhedonia, the lack of enjoyment, especially since I haven’t enjoyed anything since I’ve been living alone, but I think it’s something more fundamental than that. The fact is that it’s difficult for me to enjoy anything that I make myself.

Everybody already knows that homemade food just doesn’t taste same as fast-food or even restaurant food, but that’s usually because fast-food or store food contain all kinds of artificial junk specifically formulated to make them addictive to the taste-buds. This isn’t that either.


When I cook for myself, I know what’s in it and how it’s made. I know the ingredients and the procedure to make it. This is why I can’t enjoy food the same as if someone else made it.

I’m confident that many of the foods I’ve made have been good, really good. I’ve made some foods that were gorgeous and likely tasted quite delicious, but because I made them, I didn’t enjoy them (it’s been rare that I actually enjoyed something I made).

I feel confident that if I presented many of the foods I’ve made to someone else, they’d love it, or if someone else had made the exact same food for me, I’d love it, but making it for myself, or someone else making it for themselves wouldn’t enjoy it as much.

Evidence and experiments

Another piece of evidence of this theory is that even though I’ve rarely cooked before my mother passed, the few times I did cook, she LOVED it. She was obsessed with eggs (when she was put on a low-sodium diet, she said she can live with that, but if she had a cholesterol problem and had to avoid eggs, she’d rather die). Despite this, and despite the fact that when I cook, I can never make anything simple or basic, I always go over the top, so my friend-eggs are “super fancy”, I think the reason she loved it was more becasue someone else had cooked it. If she had made the same food, she’d have liked it but not as much.


When I realized this a few years ago, I suddenly felt a massive pang of regret that I didn’t cook for her more often. I realized that she was cooking for my sister and I for our entire lives and giving us amazing foods and baked-goods, but she wasn’t enjoying them much herself, that’s probably why she seemed relatively apathetic to eating as compared to the actual cooking itself. I felt horrible for not noticing this sooner to cook and bake for her so she could enjoy eating as much as we did.

So, experiments can easily be done with people making the same dishes for each other and for themselves and seeing which they enjoy more. This can confirm what I’m naming after my mother as the

Soroudi Taste Effect: Foods that you make yourself aren’t as enjoyable as foods that someone else makes



Saccades are like OLED-jiggle

Saccades definition

Saccades are a rapid eye movement (not to be confused with deep-sleep) where the eyes will make quick, small jerky (hence the name, derived from French) movements, darting back and forth, generally horizontally, even when you try to look at a fixed spot.

Proposed explanations

The Wikipedia page for saccades gives some explanations for their function, including building a “three-dimensional map” and gathering more information by expanding the detailed-vision area since the fovea is relatively small. However, both of these explanations are specious.

Counters to explanations

If the purpose is to build a mental-map, then why do they still occur when you are specifically attempting to stare at a fixed point? What purpose does it serve to have the brain induce an involuntary behavior that opposes your intentions? That’s not very good evolution.

If the purpose is to counter the fact that the high-detail fovea only covers a relatively small portion of the visual-field, then why did we evolve to do this complex and counter-productive behavior instead of just evolving a larger fovea? That’s not very good evolution.

OLED functionality

There’s a more logical answer that makes sense. The retina is like an OLED screen.

An OLED screen works different from an LCD/LED screen. An LCD screen works by controlling the orientations of many tiny crystals in the liquid layer inside the screen, which can either allow or block light that is provided by an LED (formerly fluorescent) backlight. An OLED screen on the other hand, has many tiny LEDs that are individually controlled to actually emit light themselves, thus providing a much better image, both in terms of color, but also with true blacks since there’s no light being emitted at all, which also has the benefit of reducing power consumption.


Sounds great, huh? So why haven’t OLEDs replaced ALL TVs and monitors? Like with everything else, OLEDs aren’t perfect and do have a downside. In this case, it’s that OLEDs are susceptible to screen burn-in just like good old-fashioned CRT screens. What happens is that if an OLED is left on for too long, it can “burn out” and get “stuck” and continue to show an image indefinitely (like when parents would tell children to not make faces because their faces could get stuck like that, but for real). There are plenty of photos of phones, TVs, and computer-monitors showing OLED burn-in of things like the clock, the news/sports chyron, the Windows taskbar, and so on.

Burn-in remediation

In the days of CRTs, the solution to prevent burn-in (other than turning the screen off) was to use screen-savers which would blank the screen (or later on, display pleasant imagery that constantly changes to prevent any of the phosphors from burning by being active for too long, or at least the proper screen-savers would, there were many that didn’t understand the purpose and showed static graphics that caused burn-in).

In the days of OLEDs, screen-manufacturers try to prevent burn-in at the hardware level by inducing a slight judder at the sub-pixel level. The image isn’t actually static, the screen will jiggle it very slightly, which is usually imperceptible without a magnifying-glass or microscope, and gets less perceptible with higher-density screens since the pixels are even smaller, let alone the sub-pixels (the individual R, G, and B components that make up a single pixel). This way, the sub-pixels are getting a varying signal instead of a constant one, and are less likely to burn in. Of course, this has varying efficacy, jiggling a static white image won’t help.

Retina functionality

The retina works in a similar way. The photoreceptors (rods and cones) will desensitize and reduce their firing rate when exposed to a constant and unchanging stimulus. That’s why if the visual-field is relatively static (like while driving on the highway), one can get “tunnel vision” where the world just turns to gray and seems to fade away, especially in the periphery.

Analogy and new explanation

This is why (micro)saccades exists, to “jiggle” the visual-field a little bit to prevent “burn in” on the retina to keep the photoreceptors firing and prevent tunnel-vision. You can still overcome it by staring intently at a very small point (if it’s too big, it’ll be harder to avoid saccades), and induce the graying, but in normal life, the saccades are what allow us to continue seeing at full-strength.


Of course, one might wonder why saccades evolved instead of just preventing the photoreceptors from desensitizing, and that’s because photoreceptors are like smoke-detectors (or Homer Simpson’s everything’s-okay-alarm) in that they work by constantly having a signal firing and input stimulus actually reduces the signal instead of boosting it. This has various effects from simply reducing energy in the default state of non-stimulation to providing for a visual system that works for both detail/color and dark/movement instead of improving one at the expense of the other.


So saccades are just nature’s screen-saver. As usual, nature beat humans to it by a billion years.

Scam-baiters need to learn how to talk to victims

I keep seeing scam-baiters struggle to talk to victims when they intercept a scam. They always struggle with what to call themselves, trying to explain what scam-baiting is. They should just call themselves a “fraud investigator” because it’s literally what they’re doing, and it’s clear and concise (“fraud investigator” isn’t an official title with requisite certifications and such to get in trouble for using that title).

Also, they should start with “we’ve detected you’ve been contacted by scammers” which gets their attention and lends more credence by saying “we”. Instead of giving a long-winded explanation, just say “we’re trying to stop the scammers from stealing [your] money”.

Once they’ve been alerted to the scam, they’ll have their shield up and will be wary of the scam-baiter, so their trust can be earned by telling them to “just look up [type of] scam on youtube”. That way, they’ll see examples of what they’re doing and be inoculated against the scam once they see the tricks and tactics that were just used on them.

I can understand the desire to direct them to the scam-baiter’s own channel, but that’s not going to help ameliorate the victim’s suspicions, it’s better to just be generic and let them see ANY examples.

Here’s a nice, simple, easy-to-remember script to use:


I'm a fraud-investigator and we've noticed that you were contacted by scammers; we're trying to intercept the interaction before they can steal your money.

[explanation as necessary, keeping it as succinct as possible and avoiding technical jargon]

You can see examples of the scam by looking up [tech-support/tax/etc.]-scams on YouTube, there are many videos demonstrating the tricks they're trying to use, which you will now recognize.
[avoid promoting your own videos to avoid bias, let them find any videos, they all work]

[before concluding the call, after being thanked]

No problem, happy to help. Share scam-baiting videos with anyone you think might be susceptible to scams.