Daniel Kolitz's posts - Vietnamese uPOST

Which Extinct Animal Would Have Made the Best Pet? 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…

What Makes Things Slimy? What Makes Things Slimy?

Probably no more than ten people on Earth have a “favorite” texture, and these are almost certainly not people you would like to know. Conversely, pretty much everyone has a least-favorite texture. What do slugs, unsightly thigh boils, and disease-ridden swamps all have in common? They are all, of course, slimy. But…

What's the Hottest Object in the Universe? What's the Hottest Object in the Universe?

One hundred 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…

What's the Horniest Animal? 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…

Is the World Really Overpopulated? 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 Penn Station at rush hour—has been used to stoke fear and sell books for more than a century. The discourse surrounding these concerns…

Will There Ever Be New Colors 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 skeptical. But if this future is inevitable, we might as well dwell on the good stuff. New colors, for instance: for years we’ve been…

What If the Asteroid Never Killed the Dinosaurs? 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…

How Much Longer Will Exercise Make Me Live? 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 percent 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…

If Mars Had Water, Where Did It Go? If Mars Had Water, Where Did It Go?

It’ll be a fine day for Poland Spring, when Mars is finally colonized: 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 …

What's the Oldest Disease? 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…

What's the Least Useful Body Part? 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…

Why Do People Believe in Pseudoscience? 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…

What's the Worst Trash Humans Produce? What's the Worst Trash Humans Produce?

The world is trash. Even leaving aside the garbage of regular citizens—the many stadiums’ worth of shit and piss, 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…

Do Dogs Get Headaches? 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 fistfulls of Advil just to make it through the day. But would…

What's at the Edge of the Universe? 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…

How Fast Can You Travel Before It Kills You? 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…

Is Permatripping Real? Is Permatripping Real?

For decades, every town had its spin on the story: the distant cousin or friend of a friend who took a bunch of acid and never came down from their trip. Rumor had it that many of these people were consigned to state asylums, unshakably convinced that they’d morphed into tall, precariously balanced glasses of orange…

Why Do We Forget?

To live is to forget—account numbers, names, the precise locations of keys and wallets, friends from childhood, peripheral characters from prestige TV shows, inside jokes, past ambitions, U.S. history, much else. Goldfish with guns: that’s the human race. But every frailty, we know, serves some larger adaptive…

What's the Loudest Sound in the Universe? What's the Loudest Sound in the Universe?

The human tolerance for sound is, on a galactic level, puny. Volcano eruptions, jackhammer-intensive construction work, My Bloody Valentine concerts—these tinnitus-inducing phenomena are barely whispers besides the majestic, roiling bursts and collisions going on in outer space.

What's the Worst Pain? What's the Worst Pain?

Some people say that life is pain. Those people are optimistic: life isn’t pain, it’s pains, plural—tooth pain, back pain, breakup-pain, the pain of watching your parents grow old and die, the pain of downwardly adjusting your expectations for life, stomach pain and sinus pain, pain you can’t quite trace to any one…

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