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 >>

giz asks
How Do You Hear Without ‘Ears’?

History’s littered with lost ears: Van Gogh’s, Evander Holyfield’s, that ear Kyle MacLachlan finds in a field in Blue Velvet, etc. Or maybe ears is the wrong word. The weird little flesh-whorls that jut out from the sides of most of our heads are just small components of a much larger, delicately interconnected system. Remove part of that system with a razor-blade upon learning that your brother is getting married, and you risk seriously compromising it. Read More >>

giz asks
Can Black Panther’s Vibranium Ever Be Real?

Vibranium’s the lifeblood of the Black Panther universe—the metal that helped propel Wakanda into a hyper-advanced technological society and granted Black Panther his superheroic abilities via a Vibranium-mutated heart-shaped herb. The Wakandan strain, sheared off a meteorite hundreds of years ago, has a number of useful properties—primarily, its ability to store more energy than any known terrestrial substance. As armour, it renders its wearer unstoppable; as footwear material, it can neutralise leaps from tall buildings. Read More >>

giz asks
Do Animals Have a Sense of Competition?

Humans do the wildest things to animals—stick them with experimental drugs, mash them into cheap nuggets, mount their severed heads on dining room walls. Against this backdrop of chaos and mass extermination the Puppy Bowl seems fairly benign, as do all those other events, like the Kentucky Derby, where animals are forced to play sports for our amusement. We know that humans like these games, especially when their bets pay off; but how do the animals feel? What’s, say, on a horse’s mind, when it finishes first in a race? Can an animal have some sense that it’s won something, or, for that matter, lost? Read More >>

giz asks
How Do Winter Olympians Stay Warm?

Nearly three thousand athletes have made their way to the Winter Olympics this month, and probably at least a couple are cursing the day they ever decided to become world-class bobsledders: Reports out of Pyeongchang list the temperature at or around a murderous subzero, putting this year’s games on track to be the coldest since 1994—with matters not much helped by the fact that, in their haste to get a stadium in shape, South Korea’s builders neglected to include a roof. Read More >>

giz asks
How Much Should I Regret Not Buying Bitcoin?

The first bitcoin transaction ever was by man who bought two pizzas. That arrangement would be worth over a $100 million today. Regret was baked into Bitcoin from the beginning. Last year, somewhat inexplicably, Bitcoin’s price rose more than 1,000 percent. That number has since dipped, but a single bitcoin is still, as of this writing, worth around $11K. Read More >>

giz asks
If You Find Aliens, Who Do You Call?

Let’s say your house is on fire, or overrun by a gang of psychotic raccoons. You don’t hesitate—you take out your phone, and you call the fire department, or animal control, and then firemen/raccoon-wranglers are promptly dispatched to your home. These are well-established protocols, essential to the maintenance of a mostly not-on-fire, feral-animal-free society. Read More >>

giz asks
Why Does Exercise Start Hurting Two Days After a Workout?

If you’ve decided, this year, to start working out, you might have noticed a strange phenomenon: You’ll leave the gym feeling fine, and then two days later wake up sore. This weird time-lag appears unique to exercise, and is, when you think about it, kind of inexplicable—like stubbing your toe, feeling nothing, and then two days later suddenly yelping in pain. Read More >>

giz asks
Can You Eat So Much That You Die?

Can you eat yourself to death in one occasion of very excessive eating? We know that the West's overeating problem is bad, albeit gradual: No one’s ever died from eating three Big Macs, but plenty of people may have died from eating three Big Macs twice a week for thirty years (some, miraculously, have managed to avoid that fate). But what about the bingers? The people who, during Christmas, or after receiving a bit of horrific personal news, find themselves eating way more than they’re used to? You don’t need to be an addict to overdose on drugs; might the same apply to food? Read More >>

giz asks
What’s the Ideal Number of Humans on Earth?

Earth might be looking a little worse for wear, after the last four hundred years of reckless wide-scale resource extraction, but to its credit it hasn’t collapsed entirely. Despite our best efforts, it continues to gamely welcome our rapidly expanding population, barring the occasional earthquake. Whether the planet might be a little better off with fewer of us is a different question, a freighted one. Read More >>

science
Why Do We Get Allergies?

Corporeality can be, at times, pretty great. And yet for all its advantages, there are certain downsides to being trapped in a sack of rotting limbs and organs and eye-juice. For instance: Allergies. There are innocent people out there who can’t pet a friendly dog without sneezing, or eat a peanut without instantly dying. Read More >>

animals
How do Animals Recognise Each Other?

To be a giraffe among giraffes, or a pigeon among pigeons, is to live at all times in that scene from Being John Malkovich — a world in which everyone you know looks pretty much exactly like you. However wondrously varied the animal kingdom might be, on a species-level its residents tend to look more similar than not — at least, from a human perspective. I’m not saying that all squirrels look identical — just that being a squirrel, and trying to distinguish your squirrel-spouse from your squirrel dad from your squirrel-mailman, seems like it would be pretty hard work. Read More >>