We eat poison

A variety of spices in bowls on a white background, exploring the mouth's receptor for taste.

We all know the feeling — some spicy dish attracted our attention, and we dared to try it, only to feel a fire starting in our mouths soon after. Some enjoy this feeling, while others avoid it. Some love the spiciness of red pepper, some prefer hot mustard or raw garlic, and others cannot imagine their plate without horseradish spices and sauces. Whatever it is we’re eating, this taste is the result of our body’s absorption of the spicy chemical weapons that evolution has given plants for protection.

An Aztec And A Box Of Chocolates

An Aztec And A Box Of Chocolates

Legend has it that the Aztec emperor Montezuma II would consume dozens of goblets of hot cocoa at celebrations, and the rest of the world loves the delicacy so much that it even celebrates it with international holidays several times a year. Milk, dark, white, liquid… all of it is chocolate in some form or another.

Natural Born Manipulators: 5 Ways To Drive You Crazy

A small insect is sitting on top of a leaf, seemingly undisturbed by any parasites.

The life of a parasite depends on the well-being and habits of its host. Parasites perform incredible tricks to succeed evolutionarily. For example, they may change the behavior of their hosts or even turn them into zombies. Let’s figure out the who, how, and why behind the most successful parasites in the world.

Fly Like a Bird

A person is paragliding.

According to myth, the craftsman Daedalus, fleeing the wrath of King Minos, made wings secured with wax for himself and his son, Icarus.
“Don’t go too low, or water will weigh the wings down; Don’t go too high, or the Sun’s fire will burn them,” Daedalus advised his son. Unfortunately, Icarus, as keen as he was on flying, violated the latter part of his father’s instruction. Like any legend, this story was a mere allegory until, one day, a daredevil decided to take it literally.

I Can See You From Space: Are Satellites Spying on Us?

A satellite capturing a green screen displaying a map of a city.

Somewhere, up high in orbit and invisible to the naked eye, satellites are watching us. There is nowhere to hide from this all-seeing eye: if you look here, you’ll see your friends skipping school, and just over there, someone’s spray painting a building. They even say that you can see license plate numbers and read newspapers directly with the help of the orbiting satellite! Are they right? Let’s find out for ourselves.

NASA X-planes

An aircraft soaring through a blue sky with white clouds.

In the US aircraft system, “X” designates pilot projects testing new aviation tech. NASA conducts X-projects with the US Air Force at Edwards Air Force Base.

The Invention Handheld Clouds of Cotton Candy

A picture of a candy cart with a blue cotton candy.

The history of cotton candy stretches back at least three centuries. At one point, this treat was considered to be a delicacy that only the rich could afford, but cotton candy can now be found in just about any amusement park. How did this delicious snack get to where it is today?

Bionics: How People Imitate Nature

An illustration of a man with a globe in his head and a light bulb in his head, representing the fusion of bionics and creativity.

The same ideas often occur to several researchers at the same time. They may also arise in the minds of different species! It’s hard to take something like this at face value, isn’t it? Take a closer look: the world around us is teeming with inventions and mechanisms! They grow under our feet, swim in the water, twitter in the trees. We only need to figure out how they work, and it can’t be done without a dedicated branch of science — bionics.

The Lava Lamp

A collection of jars containing vibrant colored liquids resembling a lava lamp.

This iconic decorative lamp of the 60s is still well-known today. It’s not very functional, but it is hypnotic: the neon-bright “lava” inside grows and shrinks, soars and sinks, mesmerizing us like the flickering hearth that hypnotized our ancestors. Let’s follow the rise and fall of the lava lamp and make our own just from what we can find in the kitchen.