The Strongest Living Creature on the Planet Earth

What do you think the strongest creature in the world is? A grizzly bear? An anaconda? An eagle, a lion, or a tiger? Wrong. Wrong. And wrong.  Get this—the strongest creature in the world is the gonorrhea bacterium. Yes, gonorrhea as in the sexually transmitted disease. The gonorrhea bacterium has the ability to pull 100,000 times its own weight. The second strongest creature is supposedly the Oribatid mite, which that can only pull about 1,000 times its weight, making it ten times weaker than the gonorrhea bacteria. The Rhinoceros beetle, a rather large insect, can lift u p to 850 times its weight.  That’s about the equivalent of nine fully grown male elephants! Yet the strongest living creature is the gonorrhea bacteria. That’s insane!

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Can sound kill you?

What is the loudest sound you have ever heard? A car crash? An air horn? The ultra-high pitched screams of passengers riding a rollercoaster? Whatever that sound may have been thankfully, it didn’t kill you. Hopefully it did not burst your eardrums. But is it really possible to kill someone with a loud enough sound? The answer is yes. We will have to examine the structure of the ear drum and some properties of sound waves to find out exactly how sound can be lethal.

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Why You Will Likely Go Bald

We've all seen those movies in which a gust of wind carries away a hapless man’s toupee, exposing his baldness to the world. While it’s easy to attribute this condition to a Y chromosome, middle age, or the media’s attempts at comedy, the reality is that there are a multitude of different reasons why someone might be lacking a little (or a lot) in the hair department. Alopecia is more formal term for hair loss, and to better understand why it occurs, it’s helpful to understand how hair develops.

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Do Australian Toilets Really Flush The Other Way?

The equator passes through the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club in Nanyuki, Kenya, where you can see “proof” that water spins in opposite directions in different hemispheres. Travel blogger Dan Greenspan has set up an experiment using water and a bowl with a hole at the bottom; when he steps in the Northern Hemisphere the water flushes clockwise and when he steps into the Southern Hemisphere the water flushes counterclockwise. Simple enough, right? Actually, it’s a fluke.

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Space Travel for the Earth - ET3

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Trains, cars, planes. . .who needs ‘em! All we need is tubes! Elon Musk, a young, brilliant physicist, has been a successful entrepreneur in the worlds of space exploration, electric cars, and even the huge digital success Paypal. Most known for his company Tesla, Musk has backed one of the most revolutionizing ideas the future will ever know: evacuated tube transport, or ET3 for short.   Continue reading

No Cerebellum? No Problem

Brains are important.  They control pretty much every part of our body, makes it possible for us to think, and are pretty much the only thing that sets us above the rest of the animals on the planet.  And, according to Lucy, we could all be Scarlett Johansson with super strength and telepathy (hint: it’s not true).  Any damage to this vital organ and you’re pretty much dead where it counts.

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The Flush of Germs

As weird as it may sound, we young adults have technically been potty trained for most of our lives. We know when and where to go and to wash our hands when we’re done. But here’s a personal question: Do you close the lid or keep the lid open when flushing? Now, don’t start getting paranoid about which is the “right” way, but I feel that when it comes to our health, whether or not we close the toilet lid makes a huge difference for our health.
So what’s actually happening when you flush a toilet? After plunging down the toilet handle, the water from the toilet tank flows into the bowl where it starts to gather the load around the rim and down the pipe for disposal. Little did we know, however, that when flushing, water vapors from the toilet actually spray forth. And those are not just water vapors; they’re polluted, bacteria filled vapors. So I’ll ask you a similar question: Should you close the lid when flushing?

No, don’t worry. This isn’t a call to action about toilets, but when you think about it, a lot of bacteria can be around your bathroom that you most likely aren’t aware of. A study was conducted in the United Kingdom where researchers from Leeds Teaching Hospitals performed an experiment on hospital toilets. They focused on a bacteria that was found in hospital toilets called C. difficile, known to cause diarrhea and inflammation of the colon. The bacteria is commonly found in hospitals or adult care facilities where antibiotics have been used as treatments. Basically, what they did was leave the toilet lidless when flushing and later collect air samples with sampling tubes and agar plates placed above the toilet seat. They also added food coloring to the water to spot any water droplets and vapors nearby the toilet.

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The results? After 90 minutes of the initial flush, they had spotted an average of 15 to 47 contaminated samples of C. difficile in surrounding areas of the toilet bowl. When sampling the water vapor, they placed cling film and filter paper to catch the droplets after flushing. They found up to 50 water droplets per flush! If you really think about, that is really millions of germs, most of which would not have been there had the toilet seat been closed! As for the air samples, they found an average of 1 to 3 colony-forming units.

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Looking back on the experiment, Professor Mark Wilcox, the clinical director for Leeds Teaching Hospitals, stated that leaving the lid when flushing can actually cause a cloud of bacteria to burst through in the air as well as on nearby surfaces. It is strongly recommended to close the lid in households to prevent contamination. In terms of extending this information to public bathrooms where most toilets are lidless, once that toilet starts flushing, you should leave the stall immediately. Afterwards, wash your hands with soap and water and try not to let your skin make contact with the door handle when leaving by using a paper tissue or towel instead to open it.

Having lidless toilets or not closing the toilet lids can increase the risk of spreading bacteria such as C. difficile 10 fold! In fact, the polluted particles coming out from the toilet bowl can actually take several hours to settle, and you can breathe in these airborne vapors during this time. If you live in a household with a sick individual, you could become infected with his or her cold simply by using the bathroom. You don’t even need to be near them to get sick! Once these particles settle, they’re difficult to locate according to Charles Gerba, PhD, a professor at the University of Arizona in Tucson. For example, if you just flushed the toilet, the particles could land on your hand towels, sink handles, and, even worse, your toothbrush! Anything that you touch in the bathroom presents the risk of surface-to-hand-to-mouth contact. GROSS.

Need I say more? The research is fairly conclusive; let’s close our lids, guys!


The Tongue's Little Secret

Here’s a challenge for you: How many of the five tastes can you name? Many people begin confidently: “Well, there’s sweet, sour, bitter, salty...” and they trail off to ask: “Is it spicy?” What if I told you that spicy is not one of them, that spicy is only a pain signal sent by the nerves? You might be surprised and then confused as you wonder what the fifth taste is, like I was. “Well?” you might say. “What is it??” The elusive fifth taste is: *drumroll* UMAMI. Yes, umami.

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The Angrier you are, the stronger you are?

The lowered eyebrow, the pursed lips, the flared nostrils—all universal signs of anger. We all know these are clear indicators of someone’s angry face, but what purpose do each of these slight facial expressions have? For baboons, their angry face reveals how sharp their fangs are and therefore are perceived as more of a threat. But what about humans? What does our angry face show? A group of scientists at the School of Criminology at Griffith University in Australia has ventured out to find the answer. They’ve come to the conclusion that our angry face actually makes us look physically stronger! Continue reading


Fish are Friends, Not Food

Many cultures from around the world consume fish or other types of seafood daily, and I am a firm believer in the Order of the Mighty Rainbow Roll. I’m a seafood fanatic whether it’s in the form of overly priced sushi or a traditional Thai style seafood broth. But if you’re a seafood lover like me, get ready because I have some bad news for you… Continue reading


Honey: Sweetener or Medicinal Wonder?

Honey and tea. Honey butter. Honey in sauces, soups, and salad dressings. Peanut butter sandwich drizzled with honey (If you haven’t already tried this, try it! It is heavenly). Honey is used as a natural-for the most part- sweetener in a variety of things. Honey, however, is capable of more than you think! Certain types of honey have medicinal qualities that have been known to surpass that of certain antibiotics.

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We're not just basic.