science
What Makes Things Slimy?

Probably no more than ten people on Earth have a “favourite” texture, and these are almost certainly not people you would like to know. Conversely, pretty much everyone has a least-favourite texture. What do slugs, unsightly thigh boils, and disease-ridden swamps all have in common? They are all, of course, slimy. But how did they get that way? Where does slime—and/or sliminess—come from? For this week’s Giz Asks, we reached out to a number of slime experts to find out. Read More >>

space
What’s the Hottest Object in the Universe?

Thirty degrees might seem hot, when you’re sweating through your shirt in July—but on a cosmic scale it barely registers. The Sun itself is over 15 million degrees; and in a hottest-object contest, the Sun wouldn’t even rank. Scientists, in fact, have produced temperatures many times that, right here on Earth (in terms of kinetic energy in microscopic places). We reached out to a number of scientists for this week’s Giz Asks—astronomers and physicists—to find out what the hottest object in the universe actually is. Read More >>

giz asks
What’s the Horniest Animal?

Anyone who’s ever watched a nature documentary knows that the animal kingdom is rife with – is, in some sense, composed entirely of – sex fiends and perverts. They’ve got all kinds of genitalia out there in nature, and these are put to frequent, energetic use. Still, some species are surely less sex-crazed than others – fonder, for instance, of doing adorable little tricks, or making a mess of their prey’s intestines. Conversely, some species must dwell in a realm of intense, pan-sensory horniness unimaginable to your average sex-consumed human, and it’s that bunch we’re interested in for this week’s Giz Asks. Below, animal experts weigh in on what animal might be the horniest. Read More >>

giz asks
Is the World Really Overpopulated?

The notion that we’re headed towards some kind of populational apocalypse—that there exists a line which, once crossed, will lead inexorably to mass starvation, and a whole planet like King's Cross at rush hour—has been used to stoke fear and sell books for more than a century. The discourse surrounding these concerns can be so toxic, that just wading into it can feel pointless, or futile, or worse. But it is, nonetheless, a question worth gaining clarity on. And so for this week’s Giz Asks we reached out to a number of experts—in sustainability, environmental studies, economics, geography, and more—to find out, once and for all, whether the Earth is overpopulated. Read More >>

science
Will There Ever Be New Colours That We Can See?

When brain chips break big, and commercial tech giants start sifting our thoughts and swapping cherished memories for subscription wine box ads, there will be plenty of reasons to be sceptical. But if this future is inevitable, we might as well dwell on the good stuff. New colours, for instance: for years we’ve been saddled with the same old spectrum, but the right skull implant might conceivably reveal a whole new one, its colours indescribable until we see them, and name them. Read More >>

science
What If the Asteroid Never Killed the Dinosaurs?

An asteroid slammed down and did away with all the dinosaurs, paving the way for such developments as the human race, capitalism, and posting on the internet: it’s the story we all know and love. Yet if things had shaken out differently—if the asteroid had stayed in its place, and the dinosaurs allowed to proceed with their business—what would things have looked like? Read More >>

science
How Much Longer Will Exercise Make Me Live?

There might be some contrarian physiologist I’m neglecting here, but it does not feel controversial to say that, among people who study exercise, there is 100% consensus re: working out being good for you. Yet for those of us who have adjusted to feeling physically awful all the time, “good for you” might not cut it, incentive-wise. More appealing, perhaps, is the prospect of a longer life. Read More >>

space
If Mars Had Water, Where Did It Go?

It’ll be a fine day for Evian, when Mars is finally colonised: bottled’s the only option, when you’re living on a planet whose last substantial traces of flowing liquid water disappeared a few billion years ago. That ancient water has occasioned much study and debate, and provided the name for at least one French-Candian psych rock band. The fact that it existed, at one point, is a large part of why dreams of annexing Mars have flourished. But where did it go, exactly? By what majestic geological processes do massive bodies of space-liquid just disappear? For this week’s Giz Asks, we talked to a number of Mars experts to find out. Read More >>

health
What’s the Oldest Disease?

Some things never change. Dying terribly from bone cancer, for instance: that’s something humans have been doing from about the beginning of our time. Has it always been like this, or was there some blissful period, in our species’ salad days, in which no one perished from bone cancer? Which sickness has burdened us—or our ancestors, or any lifeform—the longest? To find out, for this Giz Asks we reached out to a number of anthropologists, who provided their takes on the oldest disease. Read More >>

giz asks
What’s the Least Useful Body Part?

We’re all familiar with the flashy, big-ticket organs: the heart, the brain, the lungs. Their celebrity often obscures the work—humbler, less heroic, but often no less essential to the maintenance of a life—performed by those organs only doctors know about: the body’s back-up players, pulsing and pumping in relative obscurity. Not to mention the mid-tier organs, like the gallbladder, whose functions most of us only dimly comprehend, unless—or until—they start acting up. Read More >>

science
Why Do People Believe in Pseudoscience?

It’s difficult to change someone’s mind if they have anything like a strong opinion on the risks of vaccination, or the usefulness of orbs and essential oils in the treatment of late-stage liver cancer. But if you’re ever going to stand a chance of doing so, you’re going to need to wipe the rage-spittle off your face and set about the hard, not especially rewarding work of trying to understand these people. And so for this Giz Asks, we reached out to a number of psychologists and historians who’ve studied the issue to figure out why people believe in pseudoscience. Read More >>

giz asks
What’s the Worst Trash Humans Produce?

The world is trash. Even leaving aside the garbage of regular citizens—the many stadiums’ worth of human waste, plastic cups and pill bottles, scrapped cars and dead dogs dispensed of every day, every hour of every day—there is the world-withering, endlessly-accumulating waste of the industrial variety, which could toxify every inch of the globe, or at least those few inches that haven’t been toxified already. There is such an astonishing quantity and variety of waste coursing in, around and above the planet that it can be easy to think of all of it as one dense, destructive substance—but there are degrees. Some kinds of trash are worse than other kinds, and it is worth knowing which is which, as we hover in the mudroom of apocalypse. Read More >>

animals
Do Dogs Get Headaches?

From the outside a dog’s life can seem close to ideal, at least at those moments when your desire to do nothing runs up against the imperatives of being alive (going to work, doing dishes, buying food for the dog, etc.). Plus, dogs generally don’t require fistfuls of paracetamol just to make it through the day. But would they, if they understood the concept of medicine, and could somehow unscrew those childproof caps with their paws? Put otherwise: do dogs get headaches? For this week’s Giz Asks, we reached out to a number of experts in canine medicine and behaviour to find out. Read More >>

space
What’s at the Edge of the Universe?

It is a routine emotion in 2019 to urgently wish, four or five times in a day, to be launched not simply into space but to the very edge of the universe, as far as it is possible to get from the fever dream of bad weather, busted trains and potentially cancerous thigh lesions that constitute life on Earth. But what would be waiting for you, up at the cosmological border? Is it even a border, or is what we’re dealing with here more like a kind of inconceivably vast ceiling? Is there even a border/ceiling up there at all? For this Giz Asks, we talked with a number of cosmology-oriented physicists to find out. Read More >>

giz asks
How Fast Can You Travel Before It Kills You?

The human body can withstand a lot before giving up and dying: falls from second-story windows, years of fevered substance abuse, wolf attacks, etc. We have a pretty good idea of what it can’t tolerate, but some ways of dying instantly have received less attention than others, and speed is one of these. We’ve all seen pictures of people moving at top-speed – but is there a velocity beyond which those blown-back cheeks actually fly off your face? Read More >>