Monthly Archive: November 2015

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How The Rise Of Agriculture Had A Negative Effect On Our Bodies

Generally, we think of the development of agriculture as a good thing. But recent research shows that with the lifestyle changes that came along with farming and the dietary changes made when we became less dependent on meat, we started to devolve. Our jaws became smaller but our teeth didn’t, leading to the dental problems that many suffer from today. Our skeletons became less dense and more easily breakable, and our joints became weaker.

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The Ancient Worlds Discovered Beneath One Man’s Toilet

You never know what you’ll find underneath your house. In Jerusalem, one family was renovating their home when they found a ritual bath. In 2014, another homeowner, who inherited his single-story property, found four more floors underneath his house while restoring it. But one of the most unusual finds happened to an Italian family that kept discovering layer after layer of ancient history beneath their property when they tried to fix a toilet. The 15-year project has become an obsession, with the family opening a museum to show off their artifacts.

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The Fable Of The Human Pheromone

We’ve all heard that humans put off a certain scent, a pheromone, that makes us more attractive to our chosen partner or a potential partner. While pheromones have been found in insects and other mammals, none have ever been found in humans. The myth was started with some wishful thinking and some cleverly presented “facts” at a 1991 conference in Paris, and even though it’s been debunked in countless studies, it’s still widely believed.

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The Greatest Boxing Rivalry Spanned Two Generations: Ali vs. Frazier IV

On June 8, 2001, fight fans turned on their TVs to watch Ali and Frazier step into the ring and duke it out. Only this time, it was Laila Ali and Jacquelyn Frazier-Lyde, the daughters of boxing’s biggest legends. This wasn’t just any ordinary boxing match. It was an epilogue to the sport’s greatest rivalry, a blood feud that had spilled over into the next generation.

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Why Conspiracy Theorists Believe

Conspiracy theories: They’re all nuts, right? There’s a huge amount of people who believe in one conspiracy theory or another (or a whole bunch of them). While there’s been no concrete research that suggests gender or class has anything to do with our desire to believe in conspiracies, it has been found that believers share a few traits. They tend to be people who have a hard time trusting others and they have an overwhelming suspicion of the powers that be. They also may find it comforting to think that there’s someone out there manipulating the world behind the scenes. Perhaps it’s more reassuring that someone knows what the heck is going on in this world.

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The Boy Who Tried To Keep From Growing Up

Currently, there have only been about three reported cases of a phobia called gerascophobia, the fear of aging. One case study, done on a 14-year-old boy in Mexico, discussed a teenager so petrified of growing up that he stopped eating in the hopes of halting puberty. He cried when someone commented that he looked older or taller, and he contemplated surgery to remove any signs of aging. Thankfully, when treated with therapy and medication, he showed improvement.

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The Good (And Bad) News About The Midlife Crisis

After the term “midlife crisis” was coined in 1965, it became ingrained in our collective consciousness. But recent studies—some spanning decades—have found that most people don’t go through a midlife crisis. At least, not when they’re in their midlife years. Hitting 40 seemed to be the start of a general upswing in overall happiness and life satisfaction, with much of the soul searching and depression happening to those in their thirties.

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The Bizarre Racist Stereotypes Asian Nations Have About The West

Even if we disapprove of them, most of us can name a handful of national stereotypes. Mexicans are lazy. Americans are fat and obnoxious. The French do nothing but surrender. But what about the stereotype that the English are always wearing wigs? Or that Italians are weak? Or that Westerners have huge noses? Turns out the Chinese and Japanese have their own set of cultural stereotypes. And how we in the West fit into them is utterly bizarre.

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Why Piranhas Aren’t Nearly As Scary As You Think

Even today, piranhas are known as one of the most brutal of all fish. That reputation is largely undeserved, though. Most piranhas are scavengers rather than hunters, preferring to feed on the dead or on the cast-off leftovers from a fisherman’s gutted catch. Some are even vegetarian. The whole idea of the savage piranha started with Teddy Roosevelt, when he wrote on them for his 1914 book, Through the Brazilian Wilderness.

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No One Can Tell If We’ve Solved One Of Math’s Greatest Problems

In August 2012, mathematician Shinichi Mochizuki quietly posted four papers on his website that would guarantee his place in the history books. Totaling 500 pages, they solved the famous ABC conjecture, a longstanding pure maths problem first proposed in the 1980s. It was cause for celebration.

At least, it should have been. Unfortunately, Mochizuki’s proof was so advanced and so complex that no other mathematician alive can understand it. As a result, no one actually knows whether he solved the ABC conjecture or is simply a deluded madman.