Chemists show life on Earth was not a fluke

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How life came about from inanimate sets of chemicals is still a mystery. While we may never be certain which chemicals existed on prebiotic Earth, we can study the biomolecules we have today to give us clues about what happened three billion years ago. Now scientists have used a set of these biomolecules to show one… » 10/24/13 8:40am 10/24/13 8:40am

A black widow story that'll make you shake out your sheets tonight

Inspired by Jackson Landers’s recent piece on black widows at The New York Times, It's Okay to be Smart's Joe Hanson decided to relate the story of his own harrowing encounter with the iconic arachnid. "It's all true," he writes. "This happened fifteen years ago, and I remember it like it was yesterday." » 9/19/13 1:20pm 9/19/13 1:20pm

Rat poison strychnine was an early performance-enhancing drug

Today's performance-enhancing drugs take years to severely damage an athlete's health. Back in 1904, they didn't have time for such things. A couple of strychnine injections during the marathon at the 1904 Olympics helped Thomas Hicks nearly kill himself by the end of the race. It also helped him win a gold medal. » 6/11/13 8:00am 6/11/13 8:00am