Talk to Frank

Fact: Money has the same effect on your brain as cocaine. In a revelation that goes a long way toward explaining the Wall Street obsession with cocaine, it turns out that your brain gets off on dollar bills just as much as it does from popping pills. In all our brains we have an area…

Pitch Perfect

Fact: Birds have accents depending on where they’re from. You might struggle to hear the English behind a thick Scottish accent or mock a Londoner for speaking like the queen, but regional accents are so natural that even birds have them. These ‘accents’ can be found in the singing of songbirds. Listen very carefully and…

Will It Blend?

Fact: There’s a jellyfish which can survive being put in a blender. It’s not the first time we talked about jellyfish being awesome (we already know they can live forever), but even more impressive is their ability to survive a battle with your average kitchen blender. This impressive skill is held by a freshwater cousin of…

On The Lash

Fact: You’ve got animals living in your eyelashes. One may flutter them at a bartender to make sure you get served quickly, but in reality your eyelashes are teeming with their own ecosystem of tiny mites – which slightly ruins their sex appeal. These mites are called Demodex folliculorum, and they make their home inside your hair…

Part 2: Guilty Pleasures

Fact: Getting an infection can change your sexual fantasies. You might think from Part 1 that parasites can only control the simple minds of insects, but you’d be wrong. One parasite has adapted to alter the behaviour of mammals – and it can even change what turns you on. The villain in question is Toxoplasma Gondii, a…

Part 1: Behavioural Therapy

Fact: Parasites can force insects to kill themselves. It sounds like science fiction, but that’s only because human’s haven’t worked it out yet. Parasites have perfected incredibly advanced mind control techniques – with some pretty morbid consequences. Parasites reproduce in host animals or plants at the expense of those hosts: as long as the parasite…

That’s No Fruit

Fact: Grapefruits were invented by humans. If you’re on an ‘all natural’ caveman diet, then you’d better cut our grapefruit: they’re man-made, so cavemen would never have tasted one. Grapefruits are actually a hybrid between two other citrus fruit species (a sweet orange and a pomelo) which were accidentally crossed together in Barbados in the 17th…

A Leap of Faith

Fact: You can keep your milk fresh by putting frogs in it. It sounds like I’ve lost my marbles, I know, but if your fridge breaks down and you need to keep your milk fresh, dunking a few frogs in it could be your best bet. Milk goes off because bacteria eat the sugar in…

Your Own Worst Enemy

Fact: The most likely person to kill you is you. The logic behind this one is simple: in the UK, suicide rates are far higher than murder rates. If someone is going to kill you, odds are its going to be you. With murder lagging well behind suicide in the rankings, it doesn’t look like…

Sensory Overload

Fact: You’ve got a lot more than 5 senses. As a kid I nailed the 5 senses: sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing. As an adult, I realised I was lied to yet again. What we call a ‘sense’ is a way of your body collecting information about the environment and passing it to your…

Respect Your Elders

Fact: Greenland sharks can live to 400 years old. Elephants might have beaten cancer, but Greenland sharks have gone one step further and solved the problem of ageing. Living by the maxim “live slow die old” they can reach an impressive 400 years, although its a quiet life – females aren’t ready to reproduce until…

Tinsel Inferno

Fact: You should always burn your Christmas tree. Setting fire to things feels inherently bad for the environment, but it turns out that its actually one of the most eco-friendly ways to dispose of your Christmas tree. As we know, global warming is caused by excessive greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The most famous of…