We’ve all heard the five-second rule: as long as the food has been on the ground for less than five seconds, you’re safe to eat it. But are you? Birth of an urban myth When it comes to the origin of the five-second rule, stories abound. Genghis Khan often stars in these accounts, with claims it was originally known as the Khan rule. This rule apparently came into play at 13th-century victory banquets when Khan […]
Fish do it, so do reptiles and insects. Mammals – including humans – do it too. The way some birds do it will blow your mind. We’re talking migration. Why do some animals travel around the globe and how do they find their way? And what happens when the habitat they need along the way disappears? Just keep swimming It’s hard to know where to begin when it comes to writing about animal migrations: there […]
According to some headlines, red wine is the elixir of life and a miracle cure-all. Is there any truth behind the hype?
It’s been claimed a humble walk can clear your head, put you in a good mood, treat depression, increase creativity, help you deal with stress, improve your health and even make you live longer. Is walking really all it’s cracked up to be? Absolutely.
We’ve all heard ‘Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise’. But what evidence did Benjamin Franklin have when he said it? Is it true the hours of sleep you get before, rather than after, midnight contribute more to your health and wellbeing? Nighty night, sleep tight Most parents I know prioritise getting their kids to bed early. We all know only too well how kids fare if they’re short […]
You may not have noticed, but you spend about ten per cent of the time you’re awake with your eyes closed. I’m talking about the fact you blink your eyes every few seconds. Why do we blink so often and why don’t we notice the world plunge into darkness every time we do? Be clean, eyeball If you’re awake for 16 hours a day, you have your eyes closed for more than an hour and […]
Stop right now and listen. What can you hear? I’m betting you can hear something: it’s a noisy world we live in. You’re probably well aware that too much noise is bad for you. New research suggests it’s time we embraced the power of silence.
Have you ever been to a pheromone party? The idea is to find your perfect partner based on smell, yep: body odour. All you need is a smelly t-shirt, a zip-lock bag and an open mind. We know pheromones play a huge role in the animal world, but scientists can’t agree if the same is true for us.
What’s your earliest memory? Chances are you can’t remember anything before the age of three. Otherwise known as childhood amnesia, it affects us all but isn’t quite the stuff of Hollywood. In the movies, the plot usually revolves around someone being bopped on the head and suddenly having no idea who they are or what they are supposed to be doing. And more often than not, a second whack to the head and the person’s memories return, good as new. But is that an accurate depiction of amnesia?
Confession time: I adore chocolate. I’ll never forget a chocolate experience I had almost 20 years ago when I was given the opportunity to try some <em>Gymnema sylvestre</em>. It’s a herb that suppresses your ability to taste sweetness. And eating chocolate straight after the herb was rather distressing. The chocolate had virtually no taste and had the texture of wax, or maybe soap. I could feel it coating my tongue and teeth and I couldn’t imagine ever wanting to eat it again. That’s the power of our taste buds. But not all animals can taste the same flavours we can.