internet
What Would Happen If the Whole Internet Just Shut Down All of a Sudden?

A world in which the internet suddenly stops: surely the TV show’s already in development. Sprawling cast, gorgeous visuals, tediously on-the-nose themes. Some handsome B-lister tearing around the country in pursuit of his wayward kids, or the shadowy sect that pulled the plug in the first place. A patch of prairie in Kansas with a weak but functional signal, people lining for miles to check texts, riots breaking out. Thankfully, we don’t have to wait for this show to be shot and streamed to get a decent idea of what the internet apocalypse might look like: for this week’s Giz Asks, we asked a number of experts to do the imagining for us. Read More >>

death
Can You Laugh to Death?

True laughter—not the strained, polite variant you find in offices, or the monotonous guffawing you hear on comedy podcasts, but real, involuntary, gasping laughter—is an escape from death, or at least the dread of it: you can think about death while laughing hysterically, can even, if you’re a sociopath, watch someone die while laughing hysterically, but it’s safe to say that, in that moment, your own death will not seem so frightening. And so of course the question is: can the act of laughing itself kill you, specifically with an aneurysm or a heart attack? For this week’s Giz Asks, we reached out to a number of doctors to find out. Read More >>

animals
Do Animals Work Out?

Of the many downsides to being a human being – as opposed to, say, a squirrel, or some kind of fantastically plumed bird – exercise is one of the more egregious. Awareness of mortality is bad enough – do we really have to jog, on top of that? Still, animals are like us in so many ways that it’s worth wondering whether they subject themselves to this bizarre ritual as well. For this week’s Giz Asks, we reached out to a number of animal behaviour experts to find out. Read More >>

health
What’s the Worst Thing That Could Happen if You Hold in Your Pee Too Long?

Unless there are some truly radical advances in catheter technology, having to pee and not being able to will remain a universal predicament, albeit one more acute for some (Amazon warehouse workers, for instance) than for others. Certainly it can feel, in the moment, like you’re doing real, irreversible damage to yourself, but that feeling often fades the moment you make it to a bathroom. But do the effects of not peeing linger beyond temporary discomfort? What are you really doing to yourself, when – via not wanting to shoulder your way out of a crowded movie cinema aisle, or displease your sadistic boss, or because of some kind of medical condition – you put off what badly needs doing? Read More >>

technology
What Technology Is Most Likely to Become Obsolete During Your Lifetime?

Certain Boomer basements are little shrines to obsolescence, untidy stockrooms of the one-time cutting-edge: VCRs, corded telephones, immense beige PC monitors, etc. Way fewer Millennials will have basements to store trash in (‘home ownership’ itself quickly verging on obsolete), but presumably, once climate change really hits and they’re all renting cots in corporatised storm shelters, they’ll have little lockers to put stuff in. And it’s worth wondering: what worthless old technology will they be inexplicably hoarding? For this week’s Giz Asks, we reached out to a number of historians of technology for their takes on what tech will become obsolete in the next fifty years. Read More >>

science
Is the Butterfly Effect Real?

Is the 2004 Ashton Kutcher vehicle The Butterfly Effect a good movie? Definitely not, no—but try telling that to me at age thirteen. And then wrap your head, once more, around the fact that if you had told me that, you might have set in motion the utter annihilation of the human race—the whole notion of the butterfly effect being that small-scale events (telling a credulous thirteen-year-old he has bad taste in movies) can generate massive, unforeseen consequences (World War III, nuclear apocalypse, etc.). Read More >>

censorship
Who Has the Most Censored Internet?

Certain platforms might take down your homemade pornography, or censor your conspiracist podcast, but here the internet is a fairly open place. As long as what you’re peddling isn’t actively illegal—or as long as you’re not peddling illegal wares too flagrantly—you’re free to set up shop elsewhere. Read More >>

memory
Can You Forget Things on Purpose?

Memory’s ungovernable, a ceaseless shaming pain: you’re either scrambling to retrieve it (rooting around for keys, or the name of some acquaintance) or you’re scrambling away from it, wishing it wouldn’t toss up, for the seven hundredth time, this or that miserable incident (deaths, bad dates, awkward elevator talk, trauma beyond the scope and tone of this parenthetical, etc.). Eternal Sunshine posited a medical remedy for this latter scourge – but is such a thing actually possible, outside of twee pseudo-indie movies from the early aughts? Can you actually forget things on purpose? For this week’s Giz Asks, we reached out a number of psychologists with different viewpoints to find out. Read More >>

animals
Which Extinct Animal Would Have Made the Best Pet?

With de-extinction hovering on the edge of being a thing, it is worth asking at least one question. That question is not “why?” or “is this a good idea??”—if it can be done, it will be, and that’s that. No—the question is: which formerly extinct animals should we domesticate? The cat/dog paradigm has reigned for far too long; whole new realms of cuteness and companionship might be in store for us, once we start reviving woolly mammoths and Great auks. For this week’s Giz Asks, we reached out to a number of extinct-animal experts for their take on which one might make the best bet. Read More >>

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 >>