giz asks
Can You Remember Being a Baby?

Every life-stage has its share of novelty – first kiss, first tax return, first twinge of certain death – but when it comes to new experiences most of us peak in infancy. Just laying there, gargling and soiling our diapers, we as infants cycle through thousands of firsts. It would be nice to remember some of them, as our lives slow down – as we settle into the same office chair for the 200th time, and sip from the same novelty coffee mug. But infancy scans as a blank for most of us. Read More >>

giz asks
Can You Get Ill From Air Conditioning?

At the peak of summer, when just walking to and from the corner store necessitates a shower and a change of clothes, air-conditioning can seem almost too good to be true. It is one of the few staples of modernity without severe and readily apparent downsides: all it does, or all it seems to do, is make things cooler, while generating a soft, lulling noise redolent of childhood afternoons spent indoors watching cartoons. What’s the catch? How exactly are these things slowly killing us, like every other good thing in the world? Read More >>

giz asks
How Far Can You Get Away From Technology?

Everyone, from time to time — or at every single moment of every single day — wishes they could somehow escape technology. It’s not ultimately that fun to be inundated at all hours with the collapse of society, the weekend activities of people you barely knew ten years ago, bad memes, worse TV, etc. You can smash your phone, or delete those apps most obviously harmful to your mental health, but people will resent you for it, and besides, you won’t actually be escaping anything: You can close your eyes in a burning building, but you’ll still feel the flames. Read More >>

giz asks
Are Capes Aerodynamic?

Not all superheroes wear capes, but many do, and it’s a long-established fact that these capes are crucial when it comes to flying around town to fight crime and brood and whatnot. And yet the people still don’t know, with anything approaching certainty, how exactly capes facilitate this process (at least, the capes that aren’t themselves imbued with the power of flight). Read More >>

giz asks
Can You Get a Disease From a Toilet Seat?

The world is filled with disgusting toilets. You might personally prefer toilets that smell okay and aren’t covered in filth, but try telling that to whichever organs are involved in making you really need to use the bathroom. It has happened before, and it will happen again: you’ll be at a public bus station, or a music festival, or the apartment of a man under the age of 26, and you’ll realise, suddenly, that you no longer have any choice. Read More >>

giz asks
Are Plants Conscious?

Animal rights activists have done stellar work in foregrounding the question of creature-consciousness: no meat-eater is now ignorant of the fact that their food once lived, breathed, maybe nuzzled its kin in a blood-soaked slaughterhouse. Environmentalists have a harder go of it. Fracking footage will always be less upsetting than your average fast food expose: Plants, after all, can’t wail frantically as they’re mowed down by the millions. But does that mean they’re not conscious? Is it sensible, or desirable, to start anthropomorphising crabgrass and dandelions, or are plants really as insensitive as we all instinctively assume? Read More >>

giz asks
Can You Vape to Death?

I never thought I’d see the day, but vaping—the bejewelled fedora of nicotine delivery methods—is starting to seem a lot less ridiculous. Or, at least, somewhat less ridiculous. Juuling teens are still reliably funny. But at the same time, there are real, credentialed doctors out there making a case for vaping as a viable alternative to conventional smoking. One doctor, speaking to the New Yorker, claimed that if 10 per cent of the cigarette smoking population switched over to e-cigs, 6.6 million lives would be saved. Of course, we’re still unclear on what the long-term risks might be—some studies have suggested that e-cig vapour can be carcinogenic, and contain arsenic and lead. So if we’re all going to switch over to vaping, it might be useful at least to know, in the short-term, if it could possibly kill you. Read More >>

giz asks
Why Do We Have Bums?

When separates us from the animals? Is it the burden of consciousness, the terror of knowing that one day we will die, along with everyone we’ve ever loved? Or is it our big weird arses? Read More >>

giz asks
Why Do Cats Wag Their Tails?

Cats are enigmatic little creatures. It’s hard to get a read on the species. Does your cat love you, or would it gladly stab you in your sleep, if only it had thumbs and a slightly larger brain? The cat never tells—it thrives on inscrutability. But it can’t help betraying certain signs of its inner life: it’s hard to play things totally cool when you have a large, ungainly tail sticking out of your back, swishing this way and that for no immediately clear reason. Do these movements actually mean anything? Or is this just the species’ way of distracting us from whatever it is they’re really feeling? Read More >>

giz asks
What Shapes Are Things in Outer Space?

It’s an orgy of geometry, here on Earth. You got all kinds of shapes: Squares, trapezoids, even the occasional rhombus. Apples, desk-chairs, and dandelions—just an abundance of shape-having stuff. Outer space, in contrast, is minimally decorated: asteroids, stars, planets, galaxies. Big-picture stuff. We know the Earth is round—or, at least, most of us do—but what about the other stuff? What shapes are twirling around up there, and why do they look like that? Read More >>

giz asks
Which Animal Kills the Most Humans?

Animals fatally maul, sting, trample, and chew about a million humans per year. Pretty nice of them, given the numbers on our side—the average of 950 million birds we kill in the UK every year for our consumption, for instance. In an ideal world, no one would ever get mauled by a bear, or contract rabies from a feral squirrel. But for this week’s Giz Asks, we’re asking which creatures are most desperate for our blood (or, in fairness to the animal kingdom, which are most likely to kill us by accident). Read More >>

giz asks
Is the VR Universe in Ready Player One Possible?

In 2018, nearly everything is in place for a descent into a Ready Player One-style dystopia. The way things are going, we should be destitute and beaten down by climate change long before the 2040s. All we’re missing, for now, is the technology. People are already more than happy to spend huge percentages of their lives hooked up to alternate realities (social media, MMO games, binged television) but these are all rudimentary compared to Ready Player One’s immersive, hyper-lifelike OASIS VR universe. Those looking to escape the grim, cash-squeezed drudgery of day-to-day life through fully-immersive VR will have to wait, for now, until someone invents a way to get 75% of the country’s population on the same platform. Read More >>

giz asks
Is Amazon Evil and Am I Evil for Using It?

1-Click ordering a massively discounted flat-screen TV, or seventy pounds of coarse-grained salt, it can be easy to forget, or temporarily repress, all those stories you’ve read about, say, working conditions in Amazon’s warehouses, or its propagation of the gig economy through contract labour. Read More >>

giz asks
Why Is My Face Changing Shape as I Get Older?

Two decades of healthy growth, followed by four to eight decades of slow-motion physical and mental collapse—that’s life, for most of us, despite the efforts of various deluded cranks and tech billionaires. Time spares nothing, and seems particularly to have it out for our faces, paying just as much attention to skin-level deformations (worry-lines, wrinkles, tumorous outgrowths) as it does to the large-scale hollowings and saggings which, over time, change the actual shape of our faces. Read More >>

giz asks
What’s the Filthiest Animal?

Ever since the 19th century, when disease was first linked to sewage-contaminated water, humans have gone to great lengths to escape their own filth. Meanwhile, animals have gone on revelling in the stuff—eating it, strategically dropping it, flinging it around just to pass the time, etc. Same goes for mud, piss, vomit, blood and rotting carcasses of every make and vintage. Most creatures just don’t have our hang-ups. Read More >>