Why Doesn't English Have A Gender-Neutral Pronoun?

Referring to a single person who may be of any gender in English can be tricky. It can be awkward to use words like "one" or phrases like "he or she," and many a grammarian hates using "they" as to refer to a single person. How has English gotten this far without such a convenient pronoun? Actually, it hasn't. » 2/17/15 9:10am 2/17/15 9:10am

Science Tries to Explain Why Cats Love Boxes So Damn Much 

As any cat owner who's ever received a package can attest, cats fucking love boxes. But why? Why can't I open an Amazon package without my cat parking his furry ass inside his new cardboard castle and staring up at me like, "What're you gonna do about it, loser?" » 2/04/15 3:10pm 2/04/15 3:10pm

What Would Really Happen If You Put A Human In A Microwave?

The Skin Effect isn't what it sounds like, but it can help us understand what happens to a human being when they're exposed to different microwave frequencies. It also explains why your food comes out cold on the inside. » 1/19/15 12:40pm 1/19/15 12:40pm

What's Your Pop Culture Resolution For 2015?

Every time New Year's Day rolls around, people fall all over each other to make resolutions about losing weight, stopping smoking, being better people, and other nonsense. But what about what's really important — namely, your continued pop culture education? » 1/01/15 7:00am 1/01/15 7:00am

Hey, Remember When People Used To Eat Arsenic As A Health Supplement?

Probably not, unless you're well over 100 years old. In the 1800s, arsenic began being marketed as a health supplement, even though it had been a known poison for thousands of years. So why were people suddenly eating it on purpose? » 12/30/14 8:00am 12/30/14 8:00am

A Legal Challenge To The Ebola Quarantine Would Probably Fail

On Monday, the state of Maine reached a settlement with a nurse who's been fighting the quarantine restrictions being placed on medical workers who have had contact with ebola patients. With quarantine all over the news these days, could a legal challenge to the practice actually succeed? Probably not. » 11/04/14 11:34am 11/04/14 11:34am

Why Do Your Pupils Get Larger When You're On Drugs?

Normally, our pupils dilate in response to changing light; as it gets darker, our pupils get larger. But they expand in size for other reasons as well, including when we're sexually aroused and when we're performing complex cognitive tasks. But it's also known that certain medications — including illicit drugs — can… » 9/29/14 11:20am 9/29/14 11:20am

And This Is Why Baking Powder Can't Be Used As Baking Soda

They're both white powders. They're both used in baking. Both substances are leavening agents, substances that release gas bubbles and puff up dough so it's fluffy instead of flat. Both have the same look and texture, but they are used differently. What's the chemistry behind that? » 9/26/14 8:00am 9/26/14 8:00am

Have Humans Already Conquered The Threat Of Extinction?

The Great Filter theory suggests that all advanced civilizations eventually destroy themselves before acquiring the capacity to colonize space — a notion that could explain why we've never been visited by aliens. But there may be another reason for the celestial silence. Yes, the Great Filter exists, but we've… » 9/01/14 11:00am 9/01/14 11:00am

How Can Two Studies Say Cleanliness Makes You More And Less Forgiving?

I love it when I find studies with results that directly contradict each other. In this case, two studies on how handwashing affects moral judgment draw two completely opposite conclusions. So it's kind of fitting that we judge them! » 8/01/14 6:40am 8/01/14 6:40am

Scientists Have Created Spermlike Robots Called MagnetoSperm

The weird little tail-whip motion that sperm use to get to their Holy Grail has been co-opted by scientists for use in miniature robots. » 6/03/14 2:20pm 6/03/14 2:20pm

These Are The Surprising Jobs You'll Be Doing By The 2030s

As our technological and sociological realities change, so too do our jobs. But just what, exactly, will we be doing 15 years from now? Here are some completely unexpected jobs you've almost certainly never heard of—but likely will soon. » 5/16/14 8:00am 5/16/14 8:00am

10 Feline Celebrities That Prove We Were Always Obsessed With Cats

Grumpy Cat and Lil Bub may be the Internet's cats du jour, but our obsession with famous felines goes back long before the era of YouTube and Instagram. Here are a handful of historical cats who became famous—or infamous—among us humans. » 5/06/14 10:00am 5/06/14 10:00am

Scientists Have Confirmed the Heaviest Metal Ever Observed: Ununseptium

An international team of researchers has just published a paper confirming the existence of element number 117—ununseptium. It's the heaviest element ever created, with an atom of ununseptium outweighing an atom of lead by 40 percent. Make some room on your periodic table, there's a new metal in town. » 5/03/14 10:00am 5/03/14 10:00am

Cats Are Divas Who Refuse to Cooperate With Scientists

Are cats geniuses? No doubt you believe firmly in Fluffy's dolphin-like IQ, but it turns out that science just doesn't have a very good sense of how intelligent cats really are. Because cats are as cooperative with scientists as they are with the rest of us puny humans. » 4/21/14 5:30pm 4/21/14 5:30pm

Why don't you die after you have sex?

Did you or do you or will you enjoy your long stretch of reproductive years? According to Cole's Paradox, you shouldn't. Many species need just a tiny increase of fecundity in order to justify one shot at sex, followed by death. Find out why you "should" die after you copulate, and why you don't. » 2/24/14 8:00am 2/24/14 8:00am

Is it really worth having your gut bacteria tested?

How much can you learn about your health from a dab of poop or a swab from your skin or mouth? With various scientific researchers offering to test your microbiome for a fee, it's natural to be curious about the trillions of microbes living in your body. But is it worthwhile to get tested yourself, and what can… » 1/23/14 11:00am 1/23/14 11:00am

Why what you do makes sense and what other people do is dumb

Why, oh why, do people do all those stupid things? The answer, according to psychologists, depends on whether you are the person doing the things — or the person watching and reeling at their idiocy. » 1/20/14 8:00am 1/20/14 8:00am

Why you can scratch one spot on your body and feel it somewhere else

Ever scratched your arm and felt a scratch over your ribs? How about pinching your leg and feeling a phantom twinge in your back? That sensation is called referred itch or mitempfindung. And here's why scientists think it happens. » 12/27/13 11:12am 12/27/13 11:12am