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Here’s what you need to know about moonshine

Image by the author.

Moonshine! A high-proof homemade liquor that makes you wonder whether you just gulped down the contents of a lighted kerosene lamp. Can you really go blind from drinking it? Or is that just a myth to scare you into buying properly taxed alcohol?

Well, as it turns out, bad moonshine can indeed make you as blind as a pirate with two eyepatches. But then again, you can also go blind from sticking a fork into your eyeballs. The trick is not to be a dumbass.

When you’re thinking of alcohol, you’re most likely thinking of ethanol (a.k.a. ethyl alcohol). That’s…

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This is the evolutionary explanation

Image by the author. Based on a photo by Rohit Tandon on Unsplash.

We do really weird things that don’t seem to make any sense. Teenage boys get erections while staring at slabs of glass hooked up to wires, toddlers remain motionless for hours in front of light-emitting plastic boxes, girls obsess about the relationships of people they’ll never ever meet, and you seek out news every day about events that have no possibility of impacting your life in any way whatsoever.

The world you live in has been engineered to captivate you as effectively as a lightbulb captivates a moth. As a result, you engage in behaviors that are as ludicrous as…

This is how it keeps you awake

All images by the author.

Ah, caffeine. It’s the one drug you can freely admit being addicted to without any social repercussions. Just imagine if it was anything else. “Ugh, I’m all grumpy in the morning until I’ve had my shot of heroin.” “I can’t get through a workday without my whiskey.” “No worries, boss. I’ll do it after my meth break.” “Hey mom! Come on in! I was just about to prepare myself a fresh line of coke. Do you want some?”

But have you ever wondered how caffeine actually works? …

A closer look at sensory-specific satiety

All images by the author.

The smell of wood-fired dough, cheese, and oregano hits your nostrils. Water pools in your mouth. You reach for a slice. You feel its warmth. You bite into it. Your teeth sink into it. The cheese… the crust… the thin layer of tomato sauce… Mmmmmmmhhh… Flavors of mozzarella and various toppings collide with your taste buds.

You pull the slice away from your face. A gooey cheese string stretches thinner and thinner until it snaps. One end hangs down your lip. You draw it into your mouth. It tickles your chin as it’s pulled upwards. You chew. Delicious!

You go…

A short lesson on Earth's movement through space

Image by the author. Inspired by the time machine in Day of the Tentacle.

A time machine! How awesome would that be, right?

You could finally meet all your deadlines, give your kindergarten bully a wedgie, and make out with your younger self. But don’t get too excited just yet. Time machines have one serious problem — they’d kill you. Instantly.

Here, let me explain why.

Our planet is moving faster than you think

A closer look at the less-is-better effect

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There’s a strange phenomenon among Olympic medal winners: athletes who’ve won a silver medal are generally not as happy as those who’ve won a bronze medal. If you didn’t know this, you’re probably scratching your head right now: “Wait, what? Earning third place makes people happier than earning second place?”

But that’s exactly what a study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology discovered. In fact, it’s not only Olympic athletes who are often happier with an objectively worse option. This phenomenon, known as the less-is-better effect, shows up in other contexts as well, such as in gift giving…

The story of Nicholas Alkemade

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It’s a Friday night when Nicholas Alkemade, a 21-year-old Englishman from Leicestershire, finds himself in the middle of the sky. Although the view and the fresh air are great, he isn’t too happy about the whole situation.

And somewhat disturbing

Image by the author (CC BY-SA 4.0)

I sometimes busy myself with extensive nose picking. But as enjoyable as that activity may be to me, I’m sure it’s nothing compared to the pleasure a male octopus derives from it.

Or why it’s so hard to find the perfect romantic partner

Image by the author (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Do the same genes that make you beautiful also make you into a douchebag? Or is it more a nurture thing, with people who have been coveted all their life eventually becoming arrogant and mean?

If you’ve spent any time drowning yourself in the dating pool in the search for that special person, you might have noticed that there seems to be a correlation between how attractive someone is and how much of a jerk they are. And the correlation seems to be positive, meaning, the more attractive someone is, the more likely they seem to be jerks.

What’s more…

How this vitamin-fortified crop can save millions of lives

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Golden rice is a true kickass superhero. Forget the X-Men with their pitiful mutations. Golden rice beats them easily when it comes to saving lives. With its own scientifically engineered mutation, it has the potential to save millions of lives and it doesn’t even have to wear a fancy costume to do it.

In case you didn’t know, vitamin A deficiency is a severe problem in large parts of the world, particularly among children and pregnant women. Just look at this map, where the orange and red-colored regions indicate the countries where over half the children suffer from it:

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